An owl in Salem, Oregon has apparently developed a taste for attacking early morning joggers and walkers and stealing their hats.
The renegade bird has caused quite a flap by targeting innocent citizens near the Bush Pasture Park in a series of incidents.
One jogger said the owl hit him so hard he “thought he was having a stroke or an aneurysm.”
Brad Hilliard, one of the owl’s victims, told Reuters: “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!”
Others have been less impressed, with one jogger telling Associated Press that the owl hit him so hard he “thought he was having a stroke or an aneurysm.”
Like his namesake, the identity of the bird – a local barred owl – is well-known to the authorities, but there appears to be little they can do to stop his brutal reign of terror.
However the local parks board has started putting up signs like the one shown, and suggesting (only half jokingly) that people avoid wearing hats in the park after dark. Or if they do, making sure they’re hard hats.
Mark Becktel, parks and transportation services manager, said: “”It’s just making people aware that there’s an owl there that for whatever reason swoops down and goes after people’s hats.”
His colleague Ian Vented said: “Currently the bird doesn’t pose a real threat to most citizens, but if that changes, owl let you know.”