Owl attacks joggers and steals their hats



Oregon officials are warning early morning joggers and park visitors in the state capital, Salem, to watch out for an owl that steals hats after at least four people were attacked in a month.

No one was seriously hurt in any of the incidents but Brad Hilliard, 36, is one of the joggers who have lost headwear in a brush with the bird.

“It was kind of amazing how it just swooped down and grabbed my hat like that,” Hilliard said.

“It just pulled it right off my head like it was nothing!”

Keith Keever, the city’s parks superintendent, said officials had never heard of a case like it before.

A barred owl (file photograph). Photograph: Jimmy May/AP

Members of the Audubon Society, a bird conservancy group, had identified the culprit as a barred owl and they believed only one bird was involved, Keever said, adding that it could be more aggressive because of nesting season.

Originally from the east coast and first seen in Oregon, Washington and California in the 1970s, barred owls have been blamed for pushing out the endangered northern spotted owl.

The bird in question has targeted runners near Bush’s Pasture Park, where signs now warn people to avoid jogging before dawn or, jokingly, to consider putting on a hard hat.

Hilliard said he has been back a couple of times this week to look for his cap. “It hasn’t turned up yet,” he said. “I just assume it’s being used in a nest!”

This article was first published by The Guardian on 06 Feb 2015.

 

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Leigh Lofgren

wonderful owl and too funny – wish I were there with my camera

Roberto Rolando

Super..!

Susan Lee

Now we know: joggers should wear their hats under a metal helmet, and then maybe another hat Over the helmet just to make the birds happy. I would like to see a camera rigged on the helmet as well to catch the hat-snatching moves! (this is fun! 🙂 )

Nancy O'Neal

I know owls swoop down and take the head off their prey. Maybe it's confusing hats for heads.

Julie Zickefoose

I've seen it done, by a barred owl in Harvard Yard in 1976. Hat was gray and fuzzy. Like a squirrel, which was the bird's main prey during the time I watched it. So it's not hard to figure out why the owl did it. Best thing I ever saw. It swooped down and snatched it off this girl's head as she rode her 10 speed through the Yard. She wobbled and tried to look up but didn't fall…kept on going. I always wondered if she ever figured out what happened. I laughed for an hour. Nice choice for photo–he… Read more »

Julie Zickefoose

I've seen it done, by a barred owl in Harvard Yard in 1976. Hat was gray and fuzzy. Like a squirrel, which was the bird's main prey during the time I watched it. So it's not hard to figure out why the owl did it. Best thing I ever saw. It swooped down and snatched it off this girl's head as she rode her 10 speed through the Yard. She wobbled and tried to look up but didn't fall…kept on going. I always wondered if she ever figured out what happened. I laughed for an hour. Nice choice for photo–he… Read more »

Nina Stavlund

Must be because of the nesting season, or, simply, it has been baited and now tries to get food, as it thinks humans always have food with them.

Terence Hale

Hi,
“Owl attacks joggers and steals their hats”. Your photographers should keep an eye out for Owl’s with hats.