[Tweeters] Barred owl attack? Why now?

J. Acker owler at sounddsl.com
Sun Sep 20 12:43:46 PDT 2015

These events are reported annually at this time of year.

This is from my response to this question from 9/19/2014.

"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 (Autumnal Recrudescence of Amatory Behavior) theory may be at
least partially 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 their
own territories. Resident Barred Owls are much more vocal, as if by calling
they announce to any dispersed 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, however, the food
supply is starting to dwindle as the "survival of the fittest" and the end
of the breeding season hits. Following molt, barred owls 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 pre-dawn am. I would
suspect that virtually all attacks on humans are done by 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 <mailto:owler at sounddsl.com>

Bainbridge Island, WA

Subject: [Tweeters] Barred owl attack? Why now?

A neighbor just came over traumatized from her evening walk having been hit
on the scalp by a large owl which I assume is a barred owl since they are
common around here now. It was a good 6 inch scratch with a couple of
punctures as well. I understand they are territorial around nests but why
would an owl attack now?

Rob Sandelin

Keepin an eye peeled

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