Watch out for that owl! John Kleeman, Parks Operations Supervisor for Salem, Ore., installed this sign at Bush's Pasture Park warning visitors of the recent owl attacks (AP photos)
Watch out for that owl!
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The host on an MSNBC program has inspired Oregon's capital 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 took his running cap and nicked his scalp.

Rachel Maddow of 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. Above, claws extended, is a raptor.

Salem officials liked the idea.

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 handbills with printed warnings. Maddow said those weren't strong enough.

Birders say the assailant is a barred owl, an aggressive bird that's especially so 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 14-minute segment Feb. 5 about wackiness in Oregon.

But what amused her most was the threat "looming over the state of Oregon right now, looming silently and occasionally swooping down and terrifying the state and sometimes drawing a little blood."

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?

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COMMENTS (30)
  • oscarp-DiB
    2/18/2015 - 12:50 p.m.

    the animols areMark 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 handbills with printed warnings. Maddow said those weren't strong enough.

  • rm00pennie
    2/18/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

    Rachel Maddow had a big influence beacsuse she was the one who suggested how people should be warned on how the owl reacts to the runners through the park

  • ratiaira
    2/18/2015 - 01:42 p.m.

    i think this sign is great because what if i were walking and an owl came out of no where i would be really scared and i would try to so someone so this is helpful

  • MadisonSch
    2/18/2015 - 01:44 p.m.

    I would never think of owls attacking people. Maybe if people were attacking or provoking them, I would understand. But overall I always thought owls were peaceful.

  • EmmaBender
    2/18/2015 - 01:58 p.m.

    I think it would definitely be scary to get attacked or feel harmed by an owl. I probably wouldn't go anywhere near that area after seeing that sign.

  • azaylag-Koc
    2/18/2015 - 03:54 p.m.

    Being scared of a owl at the park is pritty funny. It's an owl it should encourage you to run faster to try and get away from it. I do think its a good idea to Alert the people at the park.

  • CThomas-Cas
    2/18/2015 - 07:10 p.m.

    Rachel Maddow had so much influence on the events in Oregon because she is on the NBC news so she got people interested in the idea. I find this a funny and logical plan for dealing with an owl, even though I thought owls were only active in the night. But I want to congratulate these people for coming up with a solution to their problem.

  • VDakota-Sti
    2/19/2015 - 11:44 a.m.

    I think that this sign is a good thing to do so people don't get attacked by the owls man sometimes owls can be very mean thats probally why i have never seen an owl before and i dont think that i want to see and owl ever for this reason.

  • Garrett.smith90
    2/19/2015 - 12:41 p.m.

    I thought this was crazy joggers being attacked by owls I understand if they were near the nest but that's just weird I think that it was smart that Oregon put up warning. The signs will help a lot and give notice the birds how ever should be put under study by cameras to see why they attacked people.

  • nicholas.jones07
    2/19/2015 - 12:42 p.m.

    I think that the name "Owlcapone" is a funny name for this owl. I don't know why the owl attacks people but whatever the reason I think that the new sign will help a lot for runners running through the forest. I wonder what it does with the hats it steals.

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