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article imageHat-stealing owl attacks joggers

By James Walker     Feb 7, 2015 in World
Salem - An owl in the city of Salem, Oregon is reportedly swooping down on unsuspecting early-morning joggers and grabbing their hats, according to state officials.
At least four separate incidents have been reported in the last month. The same owl is thought to be the mastermind behind all of them, identified by bird conservation group the Audubon Society.
Believed to be a barred owl native to the east coast, it could be showing increased signs of aggression because of the nesting season. The hats may well be used for lining nests, owing to their good insulation qualities.
Barred owls have been repetitively blamed for the decline in numbers of the endangered northern spotted owl. They have distinguishable brown eyes surrounded by dark rings but an otherwise pale face, characterised by a yellow beak.
The sudden attacks on visitors to Bush's Pasture Park in the early morning have not seriously injured anybody yet but several individuals have lost their headwear to the bird. Brad Hilliard, 36, said "It was kind of amazing how it just swooped down and grabbed my hat like that. It just pulled it right off my head like it was nothing!" He added that after returning several times, he has not seen his hat lying around in the park anywhere, leading him to the conclusion that it is being used in the owl's nest.
State officials are now warning users of the public space to look out for the bird. The city's parks superintendent, Keith Keever, said such an occurrence had never been heard of before. Signs erected in the park now inform users of the risk of an owl attack and jokingly suggest "wearing a hard hat" as a method to help fend off the hat-stealing owl.
More about Owl, Morning, Hat, Theft, Jog
 
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