Officials suggest wearing helmet after aggressive owl reported at SeaTac park

SEATAC, Wash. — The city of SeaTac is warning people about a “very aggressive owl” at a park and offered some unique ways for people to protect themselves from the bird while in the area.

The owl was spotted at North SeaTac Park at the corner of Des Moines Memorial Drive South and South 128th Street.

A sign posted at the park and tweeted by the city said parkgoers should use caution or avoid the area until the owl moves on.

The sign also said, 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.”

While the “protective actions” may seem like overkill, forestwildlife.org said wearing a hat or bike helmet is a good way to protect yourself from an owl’s sharp talons.

The bird is likely a barred or great horned owl, the two most common types of owls in the area.

Owls may become aggressive several times a year, particularly in the spring and fall.

In the spring, the birds become territorial around their nests and young, according to Chase Gunnell with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Gunnell said in the fall, the aggression usually comes from young owls who are learning the ropes of establishing their territory.

Most aggressive owl incidents happen during the late night or early morning hours.

Often, the owls will hoot repeatedly before attacking to warn people to stay out of their territory. Gunnell said people should take the hooting as a sign to move on.

Though there have been incidents in the past where people have been scratched by an owl, attacks are generally rare, though owl aggression happens across North America.

No owl injuries have been reported at the park this year.