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Beware of the owl! One is on the attack in Oregon. And a TV host has helped do something about it.
Rachel Maddow's comments on MSNBC inspired Oregon's capital city to post new warning signs in a park. That's where four runners reported attacks. The attacker was an angry owl. The bird was likely defending its nest against perceived threats.
One jogger, a surgeon, said the owl hit him twice. The incident happened in Bush's Pasture Park in Salem. The bird struck so hard he thought he was having a stroke or an aneurysm. Another said the bird took his running cap. It also nicked his scalp.
During her program, Maddow said the city should post a vivid yellow warning sign. She said the sign should use the iconic pedestrian stick figure bent forward at a run. Above, claws extended, is a raptor.
Salem officials liked the idea.
Mark Becktel is the city's parks and transportation services manager. He said the city secured rights to reproduce the sign. Twenty will be posted.
"It's just making people aware that there's an owl there. For whatever reason, (it) swoops down and goes after people's hats," he said.
Officials previously put up handbills with printed warnings. Maddow said those weren't strong enough.
Birders say the assailant is a barred owl. It's an aggressive bird. That's especially true during the current mating season. They say it may calm down soon.
Much of the angry owl's play in the press was in fun. The Statesman Journal newspaper had an online naming contest. "Owlcapone" got 238 votes, leading among 11 suggestions.
"Rachel Maddowl" received 188 votes.
The MSNBC host suggested the sign design during a segment Feb. 5 about wackiness in Oregon.
Critical thinking challenge: How did Rachel Maddow, who works on the east coast, have so much influence on events in Oregon on the other side of the country?