Monday, September 17, 2012

Be Careful Jogging

Be careful if you go jogging. That is, at least, if you are a woman in metro Vancouver, British Columbia and you have a ponytail.

In a scene reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, Elena Vinarskaia was swooped down upon repeatedly for half an hour by a pair of owls. Evidently, they confused her ponytail with a squirrel's tail.
Vinarskaia felt something was flying close to her head but, because owls make little or no noise in flight, she didn’t know they were there until she looked up.

“They were circling high above my head and then would swoop down to about a metre above me,” she said, adding that the owls were all white underneath.

“I just kept running with my head up, screaming, for about half an hour. I was terrified.

“I kept looking at the sky and they kept coming at me.”

Vinarskaia said the attacks only stopped when she finally reached some houses.

“I looked back and the owls had finally settled on a tree,” she said.

“I was so relieved because I know that once these owls get their claws onto something, it’s almost impossible to get free.”
According to a Canadian wildlife rehab specialist this is not unusual. The specialist said that owls fixate on their prey and only realize that its not a squirrel after they've hit their target. Her advice was to wear a hat to avoid being mistaken for prey.

Fortunately, Ms. Vinarskaia was not injured by the confused owls. There is no word whether she plans to confine her next jog to a treadmill at the gym.


  1. She could head south to Bodega Bay...

  2. I was recently at a presentation of rescued and working birds of prey, put on by a bunch of falconers. They had a couple of owls there, and they told us that although owls are effective predators, they're not very smart at all, especially when compared to hawks, eagles, and falcons, which evolved much more recently.