Hoo goes there? Two hikers are attacked by owls

Herald staff

KIRKLAND — Another reason to be careful in the park after dark: owl muggings.

Rangers at St. Edward State Park are warning hikers and bikers to avoid the park’s trails at dawn and dusk after owls attacked two people last month.

One hiker was dive-bombed by a barred owl during the first week of October. Later in the month, a great horned owl zeroed in on another hiker, who was left with 15 puncture wounds from its inch-and-a-half-long talons.

The second hiker went to the hospital for a tetanus shot.

Rangers have posted signs at the park on the northeast shore of Lake Washington, warning about possible owl attacks at dawn and dusk, when they are most likely to occur.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Patricia Thompson said the attacks aren’t unusual. She gets calls every fall about owl attacks in the Seattle area.

Thompson said the attacks probably were by aggressive juvenile owls learning to hunt. Both species, when mature, stand about 2 feet tall and can have 5-foot wingspans.

Being hit by one would be like being socked by a volleyball with talons, she said.

She added that the danger of attacks will soon be over. The migratory birds are expected to move on soon.

  • Teen collapses while jogging at school: A 14-year-old football player remained in critical but stable condition Friday after suffering an apparent heart attack while jogging on the Inglewood Junior High School track. Sean Shipler collapsed Thursday morning. The Bellevue Fire Department said quick help saved his life. Witnesses immediately began performing CPR, and the department’s emergency crew used its equipment to restart his heart three times. A hospital spokeswoman said Friday that Shipler’s family asked that no other information about his condition be released.

  • Man sentenced for check-fraud conspiracy: A man has been sentenced to 41 months in prison on federal charges that he ran a $300,000 counterfeit check-fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Katrina Pflaumer said Friday. Azizi Ansari, 26, pleaded guilty to the charges in July. U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein also ordered Ansari to serve five years of supervised release after his prison term and pay $180,169 in restitution to his victims. Counterfeit checks were created with the account names and numbers of businesses in Connecticut, Illinois, Washington and other states, Pflaumer said. Four of Ansari’s accomplices have pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges — two in Washington and two in Florida. Another is awaiting trial in Washington.

  • Disaster relief sought for Eastern Washington farmers: Gov. Gary Locke asked the federal government for disaster relief Friday to help Eastern Washington farmers and ranchers recover from drought, fire and frost in the past several months. If approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the relief would make low-interest loans available to qualifying farms and ranches, and businesses that support them, in Okanogan, Ferry, Franklin, Grant, Walla Walla and Klickitat counties, said Rob Harper of the Washington Emergency Management Division. The aid was requested for counties where more than 30 percent of a crop was destroyed, Harper said.
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