Beach Memories: Remembering the eagle (not Thanksgiving turkey) attacks in southwest Scarborough

Gene Domagala recounts the story of an angry eagle in southwest Scarborough in his Beach Memories column.


The area in the east end of Toronto around the Scarborough Bluffs, the Beach, and Birchcliff, has long been a haven for all types of birds, butterflies, insects, beautiful trees and flowers.

In one area known as Rosetta McClain Park, and also the lush green grounds of the Toronto Hunt Club on Kingston Road, there have been many different species of birds spotted.

It’s not just ducks and geese that have been spotted, but also types such as eagles and hawks which have preyed on different small animals.

One day, however, a long time ago, these birds were known to attack humans.

One instance was on the grounds of the Toronto Hunt Club when an eagle was looking for easy pickings.

There was a young lad the age of 15 named Harry who was caddying (carrying the golf bags) for the golfers at the course as they played a round.

Harry was walking on the course when a large eagle swooped down from the trees and attacked him. Our helpless Harry was knocked to the ground, and the eagle attacked him with razor-sharp talons and inflicted several wounds upon the unsuspecting lad.

The bird attacked Harry again and again, inflicting wounds on his face and arms and ripping part of his coat as well.

Hastily Harry jumped up to prevent any more injuries from the attacking bird, and remembered that he had a bag of golf clubs. When the bird came down for another attack, Harry landed a great blow to the head of the eagle, knocking it to the ground where he gave it a couple of more blows from the golf club.The eagle was knocked out or dead, so Harry thought, and he brought it to his nearby home on Haig Avenue where he showed it to his mother and told her what had happened to him.

They went to examine the bird, thinking it was dead, to see what type of species this gigantic bird was.

Harry’s mother placed her hands on the bird and it flew up and cut the woman for a seven-inch gash with its talons.

After several more attacks from the bird, Harry and his mother managed to subdue it. They placed the winged assailant in an apple barrel and covered it. So the family had the bird over a barrel so to speak, and waited for the authorities come and take it away.

People from the zoo came to take the bird away, and they identified it as an eagle hawk, with a wingspan of 40 inches.

Harry’s father, who worked at the Toronto Hunt Club, said later that this was not the only attack the bird had made. There was another young boy named Prosser who was walking near the Rosetta McClain grounds when he was also attacked by this swooping bird, but he was lucky enough to evade it sharp talons and beak by hiding in the bushes.

So, I say, beware flying objects and make sure they are identified – and not Unidentified Flying Objects.

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