Drake neighborhood resident Joshua Russell has a tip for people passing through his part of town: keep your eyes to the skies and your head on a swivel.

Russell recently reported to the Des Moines Register "multiple instances" of an owl swooping down in the morning hours in the area around Kingman Boulevard and Cottage Grove Avenue between 31st Street and 42nd Street.

Why are these owls attacking runners and bicyclists?

"Both Barred Owls and Great Horned Owls can become very territorial when they are nesting and caring for young," Thomas said."Both species have been known to swoop down at people (but often do not actually make contact) as a defense mechanism to scare off predators and protect their offspring.

"Many times recreationists become the target of owl attacks because they are using areas that are also good habitat for owl nests, large areas of mature forest often near water," she added.

The Drake neighborhood, with its many trees, parks and water fixtures is not all the different than a forested area.

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