RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A number of students say they have encountered an owl on the University of Richmond’s campus but one man told 8News that he has been attacked… twice.
“It felt like a ten-pound pinecone hit the back of my head,” said Michael Leopold, a biochemistry professor at the University of Richmond.
The owl dubbed “27doublehoo” by students at the university has been causing terror for anyone in its path, according to Leopold.
“I was surprised,” Leopold said, in regard to the first time he was attacked. “It was completely silent which was interesting, but it was impactful. You could feel the hit.”
When it happened a second time, Leopold said he was even more surprised.
“I was lucky enough to get the owl again and it took my hat this time,” he said. “Two vastly different locations of the campus. It’s a super strange thing to be a part of.”
Peter Smallwood, a biology professor on campus, told 8News it’s a Northern Barred Owl which is a common species. The strange part, he says, is that human attacks are quite rare. One of his theories on the owl is that it spent time in captivity or rehabilitation and may be swooping at people in frustration because it’s used to people feeding it.
Leopold says that at the time of his first attack he saw two owls and was left with injuries.
“I put my hand up there and they had made small gashes in my head,” he said.
After being attacked twice, he has some advice for everyone on campus.
“My wife says to walk with an umbrella,” Leopold said.
The campus told 8News that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be coming to the university next week to help catch the owl.