Barred owls protecting their turf in Cambridge prompts warning to residents

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Owls are on the prowl around Fresh Pond in Cambridge. The Barred Owl, an apex predator, is a common bird that lives around the pond and is found East of the Mississippi, according to Cambridge Park Ranger Tim Puopolo.

Although they look peaceful enough, these impressive birds of prey can do some damage but recently were just trying to scare off three people treading on their turf.

“These barred owls swooped at people from the back side of them either brushing against their heads or shoulders,” said Tim Puopolo who is a Park Ranger for City of Cambridge.

These beautiful birds owls blend right in to the environment and are about the size of a red hawk.

“Although it’s not something you’d expect it’s not uncommon near the end of the calendar year,” said Puopolo.

Still, that spooks some folks like the self-proclaimed Cambridge legend Larry Aaronson.

“It’s kind of spooky but whose place is this? Theirs or ours,” asks Aaronson.

For the record Larry knows Fresh Pond well.

“Back in the day I used to run around Fresh Pond, then I jogged around Fresh Pond, then I walked around Fresh Pond, now I walk about Fresh Pond,” said Aaronson.

But he says in all that time he’s never seen a barred owl.

Ranger Puopolo says they blend in and fly silently, then swoop down to scare but not to attack.

“This is mostly just to deter other animals that are large and could be competition from their territory. If they wanted to attack someone and hurt them, they easily could their talons are nearly an inch long,” he said.

Puopolo says the best advice is to walk during the daylight. Anytime before sunrise or after sunset is when they start to hunt and when they may swoop down.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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