A lot has happened this week. People pitched tents on Franklin Street for the grand opening of Raising Cane’s. There was an election. And Jes Boon, a local Carrboro resident, entered their second week without their favorite hat because an owl, pictured below, stole it. (You can see the hat in the owl’s talons.)


Jes posted about this experience on NextDoor, where a cadre of other residents shared their recent owl encounters. It seems like this owl may have a penchant for hats, scarfs, and ponytails. As your local civics and noctural birds of prey blog, we had to reach out to Jes to learn more.

What happened?

I was walking along West Poplar Street in Carrboro owl by myself [ed note: lol] at dusk, on the phone with my older sister. It was getting cold, so I had my favorite grey newsboy cap on. Hoot have thought it would be an attractive target for a barred owl? Out of nowhere I felt something hit my head and all of a sudden my ears were chilly. I looked up and spied the thief perched on a telephone wire examining his booty.

Have you gotten your hat back?

No such luck. Though there seem to be more grey newsboy caps hanging out around town than I’d have thought – but none of them are mine!

What have you learned about owls since this incident?

I’ve learned more about unsolved murders in Durham than I have about owls, oddly enough. But many folks responded to my post saying that owls have been stealing hats, hairclips, and even just scratching bare heads regularly in various parts of Chapel Hill and now Carrboro. I think I got off lucky in comparison to some with scars…

Why do you think the owl picked your hat?

It’s an owl with style?

Have you seen any owls wearing your hat?

Not even on Howl-o-ween!
We’ll return to more civics coverage tomorrow. Have a great day!

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Melody Kramer is a Peabody-award winning journalist whose work has appeared on NPR and member stations around the country, as well as in publications ranging from National Geographic to Esquire Magazine....