Jo Hamwood had just finished his morning swim, lifted his goggles when
Jo Hamwood had just finished his morning swim, lifted his goggles when "bam", a territorial peewee struck him in the eye. Patrick Woods

'I want it shot': Notorious bird slashes swimmer's eyeball

A TERRITORIAL pewee fast-becoming notorious for striking swimmers' eyeballs has claimed another victim.

Jonathan Hamwood had just finished his laps in the Cotton Tree Aquatic Centre's 50m pool and lifted his goggles when "whack".

"You don't even see it coming, you don't see it going... but it's hit you in the eyeball," Jonathan said.

"It was like someone coming along and poking a sharp stick in your eye, it ain't fun I tell you."

 

PRECISION ATTACK: Jonathan Hamwood was struck in the eye by a territorial peewee bird at the Cotton Tree Aquatic Centre.
PRECISION ATTACK: Jonathan Hamwood was struck in the eye by a territorial peewee bird at the Cotton Tree Aquatic Centre.

The swimmer frequents the pool four times a week, and said people in his circle were aware of the bird's precision attacks. He was alerted to the danger four weeks ago when a friend was struck in the same part of the eye.

He said the attacks continued, and he has heard of one patron who has been attacked in the eye on three separate occasions, each requiring medical treatment.

"The offending bird remains as vicious as ever."

Operators had installed signs last March to warn of swooping birds, and staff had told swimmers of its presence.

A Sunshine Coast Council spokesman said a professional wildlife handler had attempted to capture and remove the bird on several occasions, but this had so far been unsuccessful.

"It is important to note that peewees are a native species and are protected," he said.

But after this latest attack, Mr Hamwood fears it's only a matter of time before someone more vulnerable is hurt, and says if nothing is done he will take matters into his own hands.

"If someone's child loses their eyesight, is it time then to kill the bird?" he asked.

"(I want) the bird shot, it's got to go. I will go down there with an air rifle myself and do it if someone doesn't do it, I don't care if I get fined for shooting a bird that attacks an eye.

"My wife is somewhat disabled, and she would be particularly vulnerable and swims there six days a week, fortunately she hasn't been struck."

Mr Hamwood is on antibiotics to prevent his eye getting infected, and a doctor has taken photos to assess the damage.