Owl attacks put Mission Hills neighbors on alert

MISSION HILLS, Kan. -- There’s really nothing scary about a  neighborhood in Mission Hills. Homes are surrounded by a forest of trees; the winding streets are easy walking trails. Lisa Hendricks has been jogging around this area for seven years and on Tuesday morning, her routine became terrifying.

“I felt like something was playing with my hair, as if someone was rubbing my head and pulling on my hair,” said Hendricks.

Around 6 a.m. Hendricks felt a something tug her hair. It was no ghost, but a really large owl. She said it landed on her head, grabbed her hair, and tried to fly off. With the unsuccessful capture, Hendricks said the owl came in for a second try.

“When you see the bird, it doesn’t make a lot of sense that you’re being attacked in a manor that he was trying to pick me up then when he came back at me, you’re in total panic and you just run,” she said.

Hendricks said she had minor bruising on her head. It was much worse for Amber Burgess. On the same day, just half an hour earlier, Burgess was also out for a run in the same area.

“There was something on my head, didn’t know what it was, looked down and before I knew it, it came down and attacked my head again,” Burgess said.

Experts at the Ernie Miller Nature Center say the birds are most likely great horned owls. They only attack when defending its young in the nest. The owl has a wingspan of up to five feet and is known to make Mission Hills its home.

“I lift up my shirt to protect my head and I’m yelling and screaming and waving my hands all over to get it away,” she said.

Burgess said her head was covered in scratches in blood. She’s also on antibiotics to prevent infections. Both women hope by sharing this wild encounter, that others will be on the lookout while in the neighborhood.