Beware the hat-snatching owl in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park

Somewhere in Beacon Hill Park, probably high in a tree, there’s a collection of hats.

A barred owl, swooping down on runners at dawn and dusk, has now collected at least three hats — and tugged at many more.

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Cici Morgan, one of those who is now hatless, hopes the city will erect a sign in the Dallas Road and Cook Street area warning people.

“It is absolutely terrifying, and if someone had a heart condition or if it was a young child, I don’t know what would happen,” Morgan said, emphasizing she does not want any harm to come to the owl.

Morgan had seen the owl attack a runner, so she knew what was happening when the bird appeared out of the dawn darkness. “Then I found my colleague had had it happen to him, but he held on to his hat.”

Only one official complaint has been received, said City of Victoria spokeswoman Katie Josephson. For now, there are no plans to put up signs.

“We are monitoring the area as there has been an increase in birders watching for the owls — and the hats,” she said. “The owls are mobile, and we are trying to minimize further disturbance to their roosting areas, which change daily.”

The situation will be re-evaluated if there is increased concern for public safety or the owl, Josephson said.

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