WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Owl attacks runner

Early-morning runners, beware. Here’s what happened to Bill, and he’s not the first:

I was attacked by an owl this morning on my run in North Admiral around 5:50am. This happened at the intersection of SW Atlantic St and Sunset Ave SW [map] and the owl followed me for several blocks diving at me trying to attack. It took my hat and scratched up the back of my head. I was able to prevent further injury by walking away backwards, yelling and waving my arms. My research says this can happen around this time of year. Runners in this area should be aware!

The state Fish and Wildlife Department fact sheet about owls notes, “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.” (Around here, it’s usually Barred Owls.)

20 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Owl attacks runner"

  • Lucy September 21, 2021 (12:32 pm)

    Runners with ponytails need to be extra careful.  They can look suspiciously like squirrels’ tails to a hungry owl.  Ask me how I know.  

    • Michael Sandlin September 21, 2021 (1:20 pm)

      How do you know 🤔 lol 😆 hope your good!

  • Oakley34 September 21, 2021 (1:08 pm)

    Ive been attacked by crows while on a run but i’d be much more afraid of an owl attack!

  • Sarah September 21, 2021 (1:08 pm)

    This happened to me last Friday! Around 6:15, on the Lincoln Park beach trail (the gravel section).

    • Birdman September 21, 2021 (5:53 pm)

      Score          Owls  4Runners 0

  • joe September 21, 2021 (2:03 pm)

    I was attacked by an owl last week too by Lincoln Park beach trail (the gravel section) – same location as Sarah. 

  • anonyme September 21, 2021 (3:22 pm)

    This has become a much scarier prospect after watching The Staircase on Netflix.

  • Kersti Elisabeth Muul September 21, 2021 (3:35 pm)

    The maple patch below the blackberries at sunset overlook is the territory FYI. 

  • Harry September 21, 2021 (4:01 pm)

    An owl flew at me and delivered my mail!  But it was a howler from my mum. 

    • HS September 21, 2021 (9:23 pm)

      Haha! Well played.

  • Lialki September 21, 2021 (4:45 pm)

    Watch your small dogs, too! My husbands coworker was walking with her small dog and it got snatched up by and owl never to be seen again. (This is true, I swear!)

  • I’m Owl Ears… September 21, 2021 (6:25 pm)

    A fly by hooting! A case of fowl play! Sounds like a case of hoooo done it! Thanks for talon us owl about it…owls well that ends well. 

  • Hoo-ew September 21, 2021 (8:25 pm)

    Owls have strong opinions about hats.

    In all seriousness, is nature getting more pissed at us?

  • Dad September 21, 2021 (9:27 pm)


  • GT September 21, 2021 (10:50 pm)


  • Dora September 22, 2021 (4:39 am)

    @hoo-ew, I was just checking in to see if anybody mentioned this.  I think about this every time animals attack humans.  Do they know what we are doing to the ecosystems that support vertebrates?  Perhaps not as individual species.  Elephants think we are cute, like how we think of human babies.  I figure that while some intelligent animals might know, it is hard to imagine the scale of destruction.  This is the case for humans too.  At root it is a core issue: failure to grok the idea of the exponential function.   But, nature as a whole balances.  Nature bats last.  We are a threat, and should be attacked.  A clue here, as most readers will be techno-optimists.  We don’t need deeper supply chains  (ie massive datacenters running fixes over network-connected devices or brand new infrastructure).  We need simple, affordable solutions that both address immediate tactical issues as well as longer term, strategy, like, for instance, the proposals  of Harvard’s Ye Tao.  Any solution that proposes deeper supply chains is likely just a way of perpetuating current wealth and power.

  • LPM September 22, 2021 (10:46 am)

    I know when crows are nesting, anyone walking  by runs the risk of attack.  There is a crows nest by my place of business every year that preys upon walkers and joggers.  I carry a baggy of cheerios and when I hear the squawking, I throw cheerios.  They don’t bother me anymore.  They like me.  Maybe owls are the same way?

  • Pessoa September 23, 2021 (7:08 pm)

    Barred Owls are an aggressive, bold transplant from eastern woodlands. Probably partially responsible for the decline in Northwest Spotted Owl populations. 

  • EA Emerson September 26, 2021 (1:34 am)

    I was bringing  my dogs inside about 11:00pm from my backyard, south Arbor Heights (close to Marine View Drive) I believe a Barred owl just missed snatching up my petite Westie. At the time they made it to the back door, I felt the swoosh and saw one large wing  as it just barely cleared the roof my house!!!

  • Idontneedaname October 1, 2021 (11:10 pm)

    I would die!! I have 2 mini dachshunds, 1 mix parson/ mini dachshund. I always go out with them when they need to potty in fear a raccoona or the rare foxes or coyotes whatever people have seen are close by. So glad your babes is ok. 😣

Sorry, comment time is over.