BEMIDJI, Minn. - Lake Bemidji State Park staff temporarily closed one of their park trails after an owl attacked a 3-year-old girl over the weekend.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports that the child received scratches on her head and was treated at an urgent care ward.
Staff closed the park's Rocky Point Trail. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources workers investigated but couldn't locate the bird. They suspect it is a barred owl.
DNR official Christine Herwig says the owl might have attacked because it felt its young were threatened. There is also a less likely chance that the bird is infected with parasites, affecting its behavior.
There are some steps Minnesotans can take to minimize the risk of bird attacks, Herwig told the Pioneer Press: don’t leave small pets outside, keep children supervised; carry an umbrella or tall stick or flag (birds tend to attack the tallest animal or object in the area when they feel threatened), and leave nests alone. Birds also click their bills or use their calls to signal a possible attack.
“Usually their first thing is to give you a bit of a warning before they're gonna come near you,” Herwig said.