Monday 11 December 2017

Angry owl is a sign of the times

John Kleeman installs warning signs in an Oregon park where visitors were attacked by owls (AP/Statesman-Journal/Danielle Peterson)
John Kleeman installs warning signs in an Oregon park where visitors were attacked by owls (AP/Statesman-Journal/Danielle Peterson)

A US TV host has inspired Oregon's capital city to post new warning signs in a park where four runners reported attacks from an angry owl likely defending its nest against perceived threats.

One jogger, a surgeon, said the owl hit him twice in Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, and so hard he thought he was having a stroke or an aneurysm. Another said the bird swiped his longtime running cap and nicked his scalp.

Rachel Maddow from MSNBC suggested on air last week that the city should post a vivid yellow warning sign using the iconic pedestrian stick figure bent forward at a run and being chased by and an owl, and city officials liked the idea so much they've adopted it.

Mark Becktel, parks and transportation services manager, said the city secured rights to reproduce the sign and is posting 20 of them.

"It's just making people aware that there's an owl there that for whatever reason swoops down and goes after people's hats," he said.

Officials previously put up paper notices printed with warnings that Ms Maddow said were not strong enough.

Bird experts say the assailant is a barred owl, an aggressive bird that's especially so during the current mating season. They said it may calm down soon.

Press Association

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