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. That's 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. The bird struck 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 commented on air last week. She said 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. Twenty will be posted.

"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. It's 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 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?

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COMMENTS (100)
  • NHbulls
    2/18/2015 - 01:05 p.m.

    she commented on air last week. she said the city should post a vivid yellow warning sign using iconic pedestrian stick figure bent forward at a run. then to find out the owl is an aggressive bird

  • AC2001basketball
    2/18/2015 - 01:08 p.m.

    The sign means that there are probably a lot of birds around that area where the sign is. The birds will probably attack the person if they're near that area.

  • brittanydandron99
    2/18/2015 - 01:13 p.m.

    i think that is a good idea that they made a sign for people to know that there is an angry owl on the loose swooping down at people. People need to know this because they may be walking by and not know nothing about the angry owl and then all of a sudden it swoops down and could possibly severely injure them. So many people are much safer and cautious about / from this owl to.

    • JB000blue
      2/19/2015 - 01:04 p.m.

      Who know an owl could do that? I'm pretty surprised about this. I Thought that owls where so sweet and loving but after reading this...Wow.

  • BeckyA-5
    2/18/2015 - 01:28 p.m.

    I think this article is very interesting. If i lived in that city i would have voted to put signs put because i would want people to be aware of owls and to be careful. Im very glad that they pt those signs up because now people that are visiting are aware of these crazy owls.

  • BrynnDani
    2/18/2015 - 02:00 p.m.

    I found this article to be very entertaining. I am happy to hear that the owl did not cause any serious injuries and the victims found it funny. I also really like the design that they made for the warning signs.

  • 14EmmaL-May
    2/18/2015 - 02:12 p.m.

    Woah. So theres a owl that attacks peoples hats? Thats werid I mean the owls only protecting its nest but joggers where probaly just jogging. Not do anything harmful to the owl. I like this artical and I like animals too.

  • 04Tommy-May
    2/18/2015 - 02:16 p.m.

    Thats acually kind of funny that a owl is attaking people. more odd is there giving it a name. but you better watch out for the hat snatcher!

  • 19Parker-May
    2/18/2015 - 02:22 p.m.

    WOW thats so crazy no body would ever expect an owl to attack someone!!! Thats scary but its also kind of funny cause i didnt think a owl could do that>

  • 08Avery-May
    2/18/2015 - 02:28 p.m.

    Scary!! I would be surprised to not see this on Good Morning America or The Today show. This is a headline story. That would be horrifying to have a gigantic bird swoop down at you.

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