A spate of owl attacks in Salem Oregon's Bush's State Park has spurred park officials to install twenty signs that depict an owl with outstretched talons descending upon a hapless, terror-stricken stick figure.
Photo Credit: Danielle Peterson, via The Statesman Journal
The Associated Press reports that the signs were inspired in large part by MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, who last week suggested the city should post a sign warning parkgoers of the threat posed by an angry owl, known to have attacked at least four runners in recent weeks – an act of defense, most likely, against a perceived threat to its nest:
One jogger, a surgeon, said the owl hit him twice in Bush's Pasture Park in Salem, and so hard he thought he was having a stroke or an aneurysm. Another said the bird swiped his longtime running cap and nicked his scalp.
Maddow suggested on air last week that the city should post a vivid yellow warning sign using the iconic pedestrian stick figure bent forward at a run. Above, claws extended, is a raptor.
Salem officials liked the idea.
Mark Becktel, parks and transportation services manager, said the city secured rights to reproduce the sign and is posting 20 of them.
"It's just making people aware that there's an owl there that for whatever reason swoops down and goes after people's hats," he said.
A series of photos published by Salem's major daily, The Statesman Journal, depict several of the signs being installed around the city. Check them out here.