WEIRD NEWS

Don't Worry About All Those Attacks By Hat-Stealing Oregon Owl

02/11/2015 12:00 pm ET | Updated Feb 11, 2015
tvirbickis via Getty Images

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO wouldn’t be a little concerned over all the owl attacks over the past month?

Joggers in Salem, Oregon have been quaking in their sneakers after multiple reports of an owl swooping down, striking early-morning exercisers, and on some occasions, stealing their hats. Experts believe the perp is a barred owl, a large, North American bird also known as the "hoot owl."

The owl’s first victim was womped in the head twice on Jan. 20, hard enough that he initially thought he had been struck by lightning. Since then, at least three more people in Bush’s Pasture Park have had a scary encounter with the bird of prey.

That number isn’t as alarming as it sounds, Bob Sallinger, Conservation Director of the Audubon Society of Portland, told The Huffington Post.

Sallinger said in an email his organization “periodically” gets “reports of owls bopping people in urban parks,” but that those incidents are “quite infrequent” compared to the how many owls live in city parks.

No one has been seriously injured by the owl in Bush’s Pasture Park, though the bird did fly off with two joggers’ hats.

Sallinger said the owls “are trying to chase you out of the area because they are protecting their nesting territory.”

“In general, people don’t need to spend a lot of time worrying about being hit by an owl,” Sallinger said. “We coexist with owls in urban parks, golf courses and natural areas across the United States and in the vast majority of situations there are no problems at all.”

Plus, he told HuffPost, “boppings” or not, “it is very cool to have owls in the city.”

Because Sallinger communicated with HuffPost via email, it was impossible to tell whether an owl was holding him at talon-point and dictating his replies.

If you do find yourself on the receiving end of an owl strike, the best thing you can do is “vacate the area quickly” and inform whoever is managing the land.

“If an owl or any wild animal is acting territorial, respect that behavior and move onward,” Sallinger said.

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