Ow, ow, owl: Birders ID culprit in Salem jogger attacks

AP News
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Posted: Jan 30, 2015 7:10 PM

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The bird attacking joggers in a Salem city park has been identified as a barred owl, a species the federal government is spending millions to kill in Northwest forests.

One runner reported Jan. 13 that he thought he was having a stroke when the bird twice knocked him in the head.

The initial identification was great horned owl. The Salem Statesman Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1LszzLa) Audubon Society birders now say it's a barred owl, an invasive species from the East that is the greatest threat to northern spotted owls, a threatened species.

The U.S. Forest Service is engaged in a $3.5 million experiment to see if shooting barred owls will help spotted owls turn around their downward population trend.

Barred owls are territorial during mating season, which lasts a few more weeks.