Saturday, February 1, 2014


Okay. I’ve got it. Animal magnetism. Just not the kind I want.

I spent the day doing errands and then set out on my jog just before dusk. There was enough daylight for me to maneuver around blackberry vines along the side of the road as I headed into town. On the return run, the skies darkened and I had to zigzag from side to side on the road since there are only a few streetlights on my rural route and I didn’t want to have an unfortunate encounter with a car.

There has been talk of recent cougar sightings in the area, but I didn’t think about that. I have come across coyotes while jogging at night, but we leave one another well enough alone. I never thought that I would be attacked from above.

But that’s exactly what happened. Something battered the back of my head. It felt like a hundred wasps honing in on the same spot. Pressure. Pain. A thwacking sound and a muffled, high-pitched murmur. I screamed and the assault stopped. I covered the back of my head with my arm as a car with its lights on slowly passed. Gawking at the awkward jogger with the odd arm motion, I presumed. But he pulled over and he and his son got out.

“I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. True enough, my jogging form sucks. That’s another reason I’m prone to night jogging—less visibility. (Once while in university, I jogged down a back road at night and my leg fell in an uncovered manhole. I really should stick to the treadmill.)

The Barred Owl has reportedly attacked
other unfortunate humans.
He went on: “Did that owl actually get you?”


Father and son wisely repressed their first thought: “Cool!” I’ll assume they didn’t ask if I was okay simply because they were as stunned as I was. (Well, stunned, but it would be impossible for them to be as stunned.)

I jogged the rest of the way home with my eyes to the sky, my head trying to do a one-eighty to scope out what might lurk behind me. No more owl. Once was enough. (Just like my dates.)

My head continues to feel buzzy. There’s a bump but no blood. I Googled “human owl attack” and came across several reports of “o-bombings” in Washington state in 2012 and 2013. It’s not particularly uncommon. Still, who has that kind of luck? Owls can mistake tufts of hair for small animals. (So what am I,…Rathead?) They can also be territorial. Looks like I’ll have to find a new jogging route.

For now I’m going to take a couple more Tylenol and stay in for the rest of the night. Concussion by owl. Who—er, “Hoo”—knew?!


Rick Modien said...

As usual, great humor and good fun.
But I'm glad you're all right, RG. That's all that matters.

Rural Gay said...

Still baffled by the whole experience and still feeling light-headed. My own modern update of Hitchcock's "The Birds". What now? Wear a helmet while jogging? Take up shuffleboard? Maybe there's a Jane Fonda workout video I can nab on eBay.

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