Missouri neighbors warned to beware of swooping owls

By Ben Hooper
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Sept. 5 (UPI) -- A Missouri neighborhood put up signs warning of aggressive owl activity after residents were swooped by the birds while walking.

Residents of the Brookside neighborhood in Kansas City said they had problems last year with aggressive owls swooping toward their heads while out walking or jogging, and the birds' bad attitudes appear to have returned in recent weeks.


"I used to walk looking down at different things that had fallen, sticks and acorns, so I don't trip on them when I'm walking my dog. And now I find myself looking up at the trees to see where maybe the owls might be," Janice Allen told WDAF-TV. "We have a group email going that alerts us when we have attacks in the area and one of the neighbors recently was attacked when she was running with her dog."

Signs have been put up in the neighborhood warning residents to "use caution from dusk to dawn," and officials have suggested joggers temporarily find new routes.

"They've suggested that joggers go elsewhere, change their routes until the owl changes his habits, and I can't do that," resident Kate Von Dyke told KCTV. "I live here. I have three small children and we can't just up and move because of the owl."


Experts said the owl activity is unusual, as the nocturnal birds don't normally start nesting until December or January.

"It's pretty strange happening this time of year," Larry Rizzo, natural history biologist with the Missouri Department of Conservation, told the Kansas City Star.

Rizzo said the dive-bombing owl might be protecting a fledgling that has yet to leave the nest, or it may have simply nested late after an unsuccessful first attempt.

He also suggested another possibility: "It could be that you've got a crazed individual."

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