Great Horned Owl attacks jogger in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park

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The majority of people think they will observe birds on their morning walk, but this Victoria man wasn’t ready for a Great Horned Owl to launch an attack.

The darkness dawn hung over the Dallas Road path near Beacon Hill Park Tuesday the jogger Dan Barton had no idea there was an attacker hiding in the shadows, waiting to attack.

“I ran on the track here. It was like I felt something sort of appear in my mind as if that I had run into tree or brambles or some other thing. But I looked around and evidently, there’s no one in the area,” he recalled.

Barton stated that at first he didn’t know what happened was happening or who had attacked him.

“I immediately, since it was extremely painful, grasped my head. It was a…toque. I had blood on my hands when I put my hand away. And I was like”This is really crazy,” he said.

What’s up with that? When he snatched his head with a scream, Barton noticed what he identified as an Great Horned Owl fly into the nearby tree. This is where it saw its next target and another runners.

“I was able to hear her scream. The owl then swooped in and took her hat as well as her headlamp before taking it away into the bushes” he added.

As bird watchers who are hawk-eyed with their eyes on the Rocky Point Bird Observatory, Ann Nightingale and Jannaca Chick are always looking for birds. Owls, they say, aren’t afraid of confrontation when it comes to joggers.

Great Horned Owls in particular are well-known for their strong hoots and striking look and distinctive tufts feathers on their heads that are the reason they’re called that. They also are well-known for their fierce territoriality particularly during nesting time.

“I’d say that every year, I’m told stories of people who have their caps taken away or their ponytails taken by owls when they walk on the roads,” Nightingale said.

However, it’s not just runners who have had close encounters with owls Vancouver Island.

The caretaker Tina Gaboury was shocked by the scene she saw in one of the houses.

“I believed that they had been taken away. Since there were lamps thrown over, photos ripped from the walls. The house was in chaos,” Gaboury said at the time.

Then, back in Beacon Hill Park, Barton’s adversaries could be two Great Horned Owls nesting and consequently, extremely protected.

To keep from ruffling feathers Nightingale advises that you give the Owls a wide area close to the southern end of Beacon Hill Park.

“People ought to just give the owl a little bit of space within that specific space,” she said.

At the very least, until the feathered attackers have stopped causing a hoop in the neighborhood.

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