[Tweeters] Owls on the offensive

owler at sounddsl.com owler at sounddsl.com
Fri Sep 19 07:11:36 PDT 2014

These events are reported annually at this time of year. I had someone two weeks ago contact me from Virginia inquiring
about a Barred Owl attack on a human.

While the ARAB theory may responsible, I also believe that these attacks have a lot to do with perceived territorial
violations. Barred Owls have had their young dispersed for about a month now, and the youngsters are out seeking new
territories. Resident Barred Owls are much more vocal now, as if by calling they announce to any juvies in the area
that "this turf is taken; keep moving on". Adult Barred Owls that had young this past season are just now completing their
molt (some of them, particularly the males as their molt pattern lags behind the females)are looking a bit ratty, especially
about the head. Molting requires additional calories, which are now available to them since they are no longer feeding
young. Following molt, they will begin packing on body mass in anticipation of next year's breeding cycle. Adults have
experienced winter, and are most likely proactive in obtaining food while they can, also increasing their turf defensiveness.

Preferred human targets seem to be women joggers with pony tails or ball caps. Most attacks occur in the early evening or
early am. I would suspect that virtually all attacks on humans are done my adult owls (males?), though I have no proof.
Juvies are rarely vocal at this time of year, and tend to keep a low profile when I conduct my surveys.

-J. Acker
owler at sounddsl.com
Bainbridge Island, WA

------- Original Message -------

>From : Jack Stephens[mailto:jstephens62 at comcast.net]

Sent : 9/18/2014 9:32:14 PM
To : tweeters at u.washington.edu
Cc :
Subject : RE: [Tweeters] Owls on the offensive

I have had two non-birders ask me why owls are diving at, and
occasionally hitting, people walking through woodland areas. These are
two different locations, on Whidbey Island and in Mukilteo. I am not
sure what species, by report they are large so that would imply either
Barred or Great Horned. What puzzles me is that it is happening at this
time of year. Nest defense seems the obvious reason, but why would this
be occurring now, long after the young have presumably fledged? Could it
be they were inspired by late-night Hitchcock reruns? Could this be ARAB
(Autumnal Recrudescence of Amatory Behavior)? Any information is welcome.

Jack Stephens
Edmonds, WA
jstephens62 at comcast.net
Tweeters mailing list
Tweeters at u.washington.edu

More information about the Tweeters mailing list