A word to the wise: Watch out for owls
Article Date: 2006-09-23 Source: http://www.newsobserver.com
By Mark Schultz
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.A. - An owl has it in for the joggers of Chapel Hill.
Gary Hull, a certified public accountant, was running on Seawell School Road
when something struck the right side of his head.
''I didn't even see it or hear it coming,'' he said.
The attack drew blood, leaving three talon marks of 4 to 6 inches across his
bald pate, he said.
''Ouch! That's serious,'' said Ted Simons, a professor of zoology and forestry at N.C. State University.
Other runners have said recently on the Cardinal Track Club's Listserv that
they, too, have been attacked.
David Couper held a stick behind his head to protect himself after an owl
swooped down on him twice in a minute.
"I've run past baboons, animals like that," the native South African, now a
professor of biostatistics at UNC-Chapel Hill, said Friday night. "Never been attacked."
Owls can get territorial before mating season, but that's a month or two off,
Simons said. Attacks such as the joggers describe, "that's quite unusual," he
The Triangle is home to great horned owls, named for their ear tufts, with
5-foot wingspans, as well as to slightly smaller barred owls, said Sherry
Samuels, Animal Department director at Durham's Museum of Life and Science. They
normally let humans go about their business unmolested.
"I don't believe as a general rule people have anything to worry about," Samuels
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