Feb. 12 (UPI) — Police in Tsawwassen, British Columbia in Canada issued a warning for residents: Owls are swooping down from the skies and attacking joggers and bikers.
Police have documented at least three attacks, starting on Friday, when a man reported hearing a female jogger scream. The man went outside to investigate and was attacked himself when owls dive-bombed him twice.
Later that morning, a local resident and her teen son were riding bikes when an owl flew onto the boy’s helmet and tried to take it.
“Our officers reached out to the BC Conservation Office, and apparently this is not an uncommon occurrence,” Cris Leykauf, public affairs coordinator for Delta Police, said in a statement. “Joggers and cyclists are recommended to pick a different route for the time being. And it seems they should avoid wearing toques or flashy head wear if traveling through that area.”
Owl expert Rob Hope of the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation Society told the CBC that people’s hair and headgear could be confusing the owls.
“Sometimes joggers or cyclists with ponytails or black fleece vests tend to be the targets and often times that’s because barred owls are hunting black and grey squirrels,” Hope said. “So a bouncing ponytail looks like a squirrel, and they don’t see the 150 or 200 pounds below — they just see the hair — and they figure it’s a squirrel so they go after them.”