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A great horned owl swooped down and scratched the face of a 6-year-old boy riding a bicycle, and doctors fear he may lose his left eye.

Tyler Tharp underwent several hours of surgery at University Hospitals in Iowa City after Friday's attack, and doctors told his family a decision will be made this week whether they can save the eye.The youngster was listed in fair condition Tuesday.

Craig Jackson of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said the attack probably was made by a female owl protecting her young.