Owl attacks and steals hats from Oregon joggers

A CHEEKY owl is stealing hats from joggers in a park in Oregon, leading to state officials warning the public to be on their guard.

File photo of a barred owl. A similar bird has been accused of stealing joggers' hats. Picture: Wiki Commons

The bold bird, thought to be a barred owl, has mugged four people and made off with their hats in the last month, according to sources in state capital Salem.

One of the most recent victims was 36-year-old jogger Brad Hilliard, who said that bird had ‘swooped down’ and taken his headgear.

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Hilliard added: “It just pulled it right off my head like it was nothing.

“It was kind of amazing how it just swooped down and grabbed my hat like that.”

Parks superintendent Keith Keever said that officials had never come across a case like it before.

Signs have been put up close to Bush’s Pasture Park warning people of the early-morning muggings, and jokingly suggesting visitors wear hard hats.

Hilliard, who said he felt a small scratch at the back of his neck, has returned to the park in the hope of getting his black Nike baseball cap back.

“It hasn’t turned up yet,” he said. “I just assume it’s being used in a nest.”

Respresentatives of the Audobon Society - a bird conservancy group - believe the bird is a barred owl and is operating alone as it carries out the dawn raids, and could be acting aggressively due to it being nesting season.+