Desastres Naturales

Hikers, joggers report owl attacks in Portland forests

Portland, Oregon, Oct 25 (efe-epa).- A number of joggers and hikers have reported being attacked by owls several parks across this city where fitness is held at a premium.

The reports include sudden "blows to the head" and scratches caused by the sharp claws of the barred owls that live in the Portland forests.

Bob Sallinger, conservation director at the Portland Audubon Society, said that the reason for these dive-bombs - which are common among a variety of bird species - are yet to be found.

What is clear is that victims experience these attacks "early or late" in the day, Sallinger said, adding that women with their hair tied back into a ponytail are the most attractive targets, as the birds confuse them with squirrels or other "threats to their nests."

Anne Horton, who lives near Forest Park, where she has the habit of walking her dogs at sundown, told EFE that, though she has never experienced an attack, she is fearful it might happen someday.

The bird assaults strike a sudden terror reminiscent of the one portrayed in Alfred Hitchcock's 1963 thriller "The Birds."

Sallinger explained that there is no short-term solution in sight, as the birds are "all over the city."

In an effort to minimize incidents, the city has put up signs across town warning passers-by about the presence of "aggressive owls in the area."

The barred owl is a species that migrated from Canada and made its home in the American northwest more than 45 years ago.