Owl attacks local runner
Juston Masuda, an accountant and runner who lives just off of Chapel Hill Rd., was taking a late night run when he felt something grab hold of him. It was an owl, most likely a Barred Owl.
“The owl attacked me a little before 10 p.m. on Tuesday night,” Masuda said. “I am a CPA and went for a late run to unwind. I also like running at night as it is quiet, cool and the traffic is light.”
Masuda was wearing his headset as he ran along his street on 103rd Ave. NE at the bottom of Chapel Hill.
“I was jogging on the road as I always do and all of a sudden it felt like someone put two big hands on my hooded head but couldn’t understand how that could be possible,” he explained. “I then realized I was scared and threw my hands up on my head, threw my hood off and looked up. I thought I saw a bat in the air, but it was hard to see as it was dark and getting foggy.”
A little dazed, Masuda stood to gain his composure and soon the owl started coming toward him again.
“As I stood there wondering if I really saw something, an object appeared out of the dark and was heading right for me. I ducked and he/she missed me the second time and that is when I realized it was a huge owl,” he said.
After grabbing his hood, Masuda starting sprinting towards his house and noticed three red dots.
“I had no idea how much I was bleeding until I went into the house and looked in the mirror,” he said.
Just over a week later, Masuda has been able to find some humor in the situation noting that it was a little creepy with Halloween just around the corner.
“The irony for me is that as I jogged that night it was a little spooky out as a lot of folks had their Halloween stuff out and it was getting foggy,” he said. “I had to keep reminding myself that I am a grown-up and that I know that monsters are not real. I had no idea that I was going to get the spook of the year for me.”
He also noted that he was grateful he had recently had a tetanus shot.
The Seattle Audubon Society stated in an article written by the Associated Press on Nov. 12, 2012 regarding “dive-bombing owls” that, “most aggressive behavior from owls (barred owls and great horned owls are the most often reported) is motivated by defense of their territory or young, or their search for handouts.
“In winter owls establish territories, build nests, and rear young. During this period, adult birds may engage in belligerent behavior, such as attacking creatures many times their size. In this case, the owls are simply trying to protect their homes, their mates, or their young.
“When possible, stay away from nesting areas with aggressive birds until the young are flying (three to four weeks after eggs hatch) and the parents are no longer so protective. If you must walk past a nest, wave your arms slowly overhead to keep the birds at a distance. Other protective actions include wearing a hat or helmet, or carrying an umbrella.”
The article also states that many of these owls seem to attack women in ponytails and people wearing headphones, which is what Masuda was wearing while he was running.
Just be cautious and aware of anything that feels unfamiliar, especially if you are wearing headphones and call 911 if you see anything suspicious, including a diving owl.