Angry Owls Return to Oregon

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Is he contemplating the world or waiting to dive-bomb someone's head?. Mdf/Wikipedia

Owls are wise and beautiful, and they can do amazing things with their heads. But sometimes they can be touchy — or downright mean.

Several cranky owls have been terrorizing residents of Portland, Oregon the past few weeks and dive-bombing with no warning.

"All of a sudden I felt this like knuckles, sharp knuckles, on the back of my head," Caroline Schier told KPTV. "Sharp to the point where I’m looking am I bleeding no blood, thankfully."

Schier was attacked by the feisty owl at Marquam State Park, and this wasn't her first run-in with an owl. She said she was previously attacked by another owl at the same park a couple years ago.

Portland isn't the only city on many angry owls' radars. A barred owl earned notoriety in 2015 and 2016 for terrorizing joggers in a Salem park. The angry bird (or at least a bird that looks and acts just like the original angry bird) clawed at least three people outside the state Capitol in Salem in 2015, according to city parks department spokeswoman Tibby Larson.

"It’s silent. You’re just walking along, minding your own business, and an owl comes silently at you from behind," Larson told Reuters in 2016. "If you’re in that neighborhood, we’re advising you to wear a hat or carry an umbrella."

Dwight French was attacked in December 2015 when he was leaving his office and jogging to his car. He said he felt a bump on the back of his head. He turned around and saw an owl fly into a tree and just stare at him.

"I thought, 'That's weird. I just got bumped on the head by an owl," French told the Statesman-Journal.

He crossed the street and the owl hit him again, but harder this time. Then the irate bird came back again and hit him a third time.

"At the moment it was just really bizarre and kind of scary for a minute," French said.

Dubbed "Owlcapone" by Salem residents, one dive-bombing bird earned national attention for its aggressive antics in 2015. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow picked up the story, suggesting bright yellow "attack owl" warning signs be placed around the city. Salem officials liked the idea so much, they installed signs around Bush's Pasture Park where the owl first surfaced.

Sales of "attack owl" street signs have raised more than $20,000 for local parks, according to Reuters, and a local brewery paid tribute to the bird by naming a pale ale "Hoot Attack."

"Everybody loves the owl — well, I’m sure those whose heads are clawed up don’t, but everybody else,” Larson said.

Why do the owls have a bee in their bonnet? David Craig, a biology professor and animal behavior specialist at Willamette University, told the Statesman-Journal that this is the time of year when owls are courting and establishing their territory, which can make them aggressive.

Or maybe the owls just didn't like the look of these people's headgear.