Swooping owl attacks have Brookside neighbors on alert, experts scratching their heads

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- At least three families in the Brookside neighborhood have had encounters with swooping owls while walking or jogging the street. It's the reason Janice Allen looks up into the trees while working out in her neighborhood.

"I used to walk looking down at different things that had fallen, sticks and acorns, so I don`t trip on them when I`m walking my dog. And now I find myself looking up at the trees to see where maybe the owls might be," Allen said. "We have a group email going that alerts us when we have attacks in the area and one of the neighbors recently was attacked when she was running with her dog."

Allen says signs were put up after owls swooped down on at least three families in the last several weeks.

"The last one was a couple of days ago when a gentleman was running with his group and was attacked at the end of our block. They were even yelling and screaming at the owl and it still swooped down at them," Allen said.

The attacks even have experts scratching their heads.

"It`s very unusual. I`ve not heard a report like this before so it`s new to me," Bill Graham with the Missouri Department of Conservation said.

Graham says owls tend to avoid people but will become aggressive when defending their young.

"Sometimes a raptor, if it`s got young nearby even if those young have fledged and are flying, the adults will still be protective of the young, so it`s possible that this owl has some young in the area and it`s swooping down as a protective measure," Graham added.

While folks like Mark Espy will keep their eyes peeled for the airborne attacks.

"It would startle me, that`s for sure but I`m going to keep jogging," he said.

Allen isn't going to risk it.

"I won`t go out at night," she said.

Neighbors reached out to animal experts to humanely trap and relocate the owls.

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