[Tweeters] Owl question

earthman1950 at comcast.net earthman1950 at comcast.net
Sat Jan 7 18:38:06 PST 2012

I have an owl question that I hope someone can help me with. I asked this on the Whatcom Birds listserve, the area where I lived until recently, and I received a number of good replies. It was suggested by one person that I ask the question here too.

I have a colleague who lives in Kirkland who has become terribly frightened of owls. She lives by a 26 acre "wild area" that the city has purchased and has been adding trails to. She takes her Labrador Retriever on walks in the park, but since September, she has had an owl(s) swoop down very close to her head on 6 occasions. Once recently, when she drove home and got out of her car, an owl came out of a tree in her yard and swooped down on her. The last time she was at the park, there were a number of folks around, but the owl went for her. She is now to the point that she is scared to death of owls, and has found cases on the internet of owls hurting people with their talons when they flew down. She feels as if the owl(s) is targeting her.

I have had people in Bellingham tell me that has happened to them, both on the trail from 36th St. to Lake Padden, and on the road above the Clayton Beach parking lot at Larrabee State Park, two places where I have walked many times and seen many Barred Owls. I have watched so many owls, including young ones being fed by adults, but have never had that happen to me, even when I have been fairly close and hiking with a dog.

I have tried to reassure my colleague that it is very unlikely that she would get hurt by an owl, but I told her I would put the question out to this listserve because there are a lot of knowledgeable birders here.

At this point, she is even talking about moving back to California where she came from originally, and she is afraid to go to the park, which was the reason she moved to that area from another part of the Puget Sound in the first place.

What do you think? Should she be worried that she could be injured? She already is wearing a hood when she walks, and she thought of bringing an umbrella too, but now she just won't go near the place. What do you think I should tell her?

George Heleker

Whidbey Island

earthman1950 at comcast.net
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