Owl attacks have residents on the lookout

Owl attacks have residents on the lookout
Owl attacks have residents on the lookout
Posted at 10:17 PM, Sep 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-04 04:44:08-04

KANSAS CITY, MO (WDAF/CNN) - There is a reason why Janice Allen looks up into the trees while working out in her Brookside neighborhood.

“I used to walk looking down at different things that had fallen so I don’t trip on them while I’m walking my dog. And now I find myself looking up at the trees to see where maybe the owls might be,” Allen said.

The neighborhood even has a group email to alert people when there has been a recent owl attack, and signs were put up after owls swooped down on at least three families in the last several weeks.

“The last one was a couple of days ago when a gentleman was running with his group and was attacked at the end of our block - his group was,” Allen said. “They were even yelling and screaming at the owl, and it still swooped down on them.”

The attacks have left experts scratching their heads.

“It’s very unusual,” said Bill Graham of the Missouri Department of Conservation. “I’ve not heard a report like this before, so it’s new to me.”

Graham says owls tend to avoid people but will become aggressive when defending their young.

“Sometimes a raptor, if it’s got young nearby, even if those young have fledged and are flying, the adults will still be protective of the young, so it’s possible that the owl has some young in the area and it’s swooping down as a protective measure,” he said.

Folks like Mike Espy plan to keep their eyes peeled for the airborne attacks.

“It would startle me, that’s for sure,” Espy said on his nightly jog. “But I’m going to keep jogging.”

Allen is not going to risk it.

“I won’t go out at night,” she said.

Residents say they’ve reached out to experts to humanely capture and relocate the owls.

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