WILDLIFE: Another West Seattle park where you’ll want to beware of owls

Earlier this week, we published a report from a reader who got dive-bombed by an owl at Lincoln Park. We’ve since received this, from Molly:

At approximately 6:50 pm (Monday) night, I was attacked by a very large (and beautiful) owl on the upper south/west trail of Schmitz Park, not far from the wood carving trail (which I was heading toward). The owl silently dove and grabbed my scalp at my very long ponytail. Scared the crap out of me as it felt like a person clawing at my head. I spotted the owl watching me as I backed away down the trail. Not sure if it is nesting right there, liked my hair, hated my mask, or hates the increase of people using its yard as their playground.

I am totally ok. Owl is ok. Either way – wanted to give fellow neighbors the heads-up and to remind everyone to be mindful of being in animals’ territories.

In addition, our neighbor’s kids were sleeping out in their trampoline (the same) night and this owl sat on the top of the trampoline net and watched the kids for a while.

We’ve had past reports in this park too, same time of year.

10 Replies to "WILDLIFE: Another West Seattle park where you'll want to beware of owls"

  • Yma September 2, 2020 (10:14 am)

    Another thing to add to the list for 2020 – attacking owls. 

  • anonyme September 2, 2020 (10:32 am)

    The story about the owl watching over the kids as they slept on the trampoline reminded me of this:

  • Robert Dlugosh September 2, 2020 (11:25 am)

    My dog and I were attacked by a domestic cat on Gatewood Hill a week ago! We were walking on the sidewalk in our neighborhood. The cat pounced on my small dog and when I picked him up to protect him the cat latched onto my leg in an attempt to reach my dog again, scratching me badly (I had shorts on).

  • HS September 2, 2020 (11:26 am)

    Am I the only one who is chuckling? It’s funny that a top ponytail or a top hair bun look like a small fuzzy dinner from above? 

    • What kind of bird are you? September 2, 2020 (12:30 pm)

      As long as the person isn’t hurt, it is kind of funny. What an experience, to have an owl grab your hair! 

      Considering how much damage they could do with their talons and beak, I think it says a lot that people aren’t really being hurt in these interactions. They aren’t out to attack humans, these are instances of either prey confusion, or behaving defensively to protect their nests.

      Here’s a link to a video of a barred owl face up close, beautiful birds.


  • Bob September 2, 2020 (12:06 pm)

    Back when The Stranger was readable, Andrew Matson wrote a good story about being attacked by an owl. (It actually references a WSB story!) In his case, headphones were likely the trigger.

  • What kind of bird are you? September 2, 2020 (12:07 pm)

    How disappointed the owl must have been to find your ponytail wasn’t a tasty squirrel snack flying through the air!

    Glad everyone was okay. ;)

    I wonder if making more noise, like singing or occasionally calling out ‘hey owl’ while on trails in the evening would help to avoid these situations. Might help better alert them of an approaching human.

  • anonyme September 2, 2020 (1:27 pm)

    I lived on upper Queen Anne for a number of years and saw lots of wildlife.  I was once “swooped” by a barn owl – so beautiful, almost ghostly – and completely silent.  Possums were common.  But the coolest thing I ever saw was as I walked down the sidewalk one winter evening and a red fox sauntered past.  I couldn’t believe my eyes at first.  From what I was told, they frequently visited the slope on Highland Drive where volunteers fed the feral cats.  They were drawn by both the cat food and occasional kitty snacks.

  • Sam September 2, 2020 (2:12 pm)

    All wild life was here before we were. Chopping down trees 🌲 and building extremely large apartment building and homes 🏠 have pushed out wild life and has killed lots of wild life. We should be lucky that we actually see owls in the Community we live in. Owls 🦉 serve a purpose in the circle of life, I think they eat rats 🐀 and mice 🐭. I wish I could see an owl 🦉. Sorry you were hurt by the owls.

  • Michael September 5, 2020 (8:38 pm)

    I got dive bombed this morning on my run! I thought I was being mugged for a brief second but then saw the owl flying away after it smacked me upside my head. 

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