The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School

TATLER

The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School

TATLER

The Student Newspaper of Lakeside School

TATLER

A real whooo-dunnit

How an angsty owl became Lakeside’s latest safety concern.
Between+Mr.+Siadak%E2%80%99s+attack+and+the+Kia+incident+in+November%2C+the+bank+of+trees+on+the+south+side+of+the+field+is+becoming+Lakeside%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9CBermuda+Triangle.%E2%80%9D
Felicity W. ’26
Between Mr. Siadak’s attack and the Kia incident in November, the bank of trees on the south side of the field is becoming Lakeside’s “Bermuda Triangle.”

When Experiential Education Programs Coordinator Ian Siadak returned to the Lakeside campus at dusk on Sunday, December 10 to retrieve some tamales from his office, the last thing he was expecting was an encounter with a winged beast. It was shortly after 6:00 p.m., and darkness had consumed the campus.

En route to his office, he passed through the grove of trees west of Fix Hall. “I’m starting to refer to this area of campus as the Bermuda Triangle of Lakeside,” added Mr. Siadak, since the location of his terrifying encounter was adjacent to where a mysterious Kia Soul had hopped the curb and driven onto campus a few months prior. “All strange things occur there.”

Out of nowhere — no provocation on his end, no incoming screech, no movement to warn him — Mr. Siadak recalls, “I just had this sensation of knives digging into my head.” He had no idea what was going on and, reflecting on the harrowing experience, remembers thinking in that split second that this would be how he met his untimely demise.

Then: a slight tugging sensation, like something was trying to lift him off the ground. As suddenly as it all had started, it was over. Mr. Siadak was left reeling, pain giving way to shock. “While this is being categorized as an owl attack, I never truly did see an owl,” he says. The perpetrator escaped unseen.

Still, Mr. Siadak had his priorities straight: he “kind of ran” to the Pigott Arts Center to retrieve his tamales, then rushed back to his home nearby. At that point, he was informed that his head was bleeding — though he was lucky enough not to have sustained any serious or permanent injuries, the owl had left its mark.

This realization was followed by a quick Google search: “Do owls have rabies?” (Good news: They don’t.) After some antibiotic soap and Neosporin, Mr. Siadak was confident he’d make a full recovery. Being involved with the outdoor program, he explained, he was no stranger to wildlife encounters, though not usually like this.

On the other hand, owl attacks were an unprecedented safety concern for Director of Community Safety David Buerger, someone who isn’t well acquainted with the Pacific Northwest’s suburban wildlife. In fact, they were “the last thing I thought I’d have to deal with,” he said. The morning after Mr. Siadak’s owl encounter, he was the one charged with figuring out what to do about this bizarre yet potentially serious threat.

A faculty-wide email was sent out asking if others had witnessed any suspicious owl activity, which returned some theories and information from resident bird expert Mr. de Grys. In the week before, a security guard had been ambushed in a similar fashion to Mr. Siadak — though no damage was done thanks to the hat he’d been wearing, he was followed across the street by the owl afterward. In response to this and Mr. Siadak’s attack, security officers were provided with umbrellas to shield themselves, and the task of creating the now-infamous “owl alert” posters was delegated to the communications office.

“It’s hard for us to address this other than to communicate,” said Mr. Buerger. He encourages everyone to stay aware of their surroundings, heed the signs’ warnings, and take precautions to avoid becoming the owl’s next victim.

Looking back on his experience after learning more about the owl itself, Mr. Siadak considers who the real victim is in this situation. Perhaps, when one really thinks about it, he was intruding on the owl’s space, not the other way around. Either way, he’s not holding a grudge. In the long run, this may be a reminder to all of us who use this campus that we’re not the only ones who lay claim to it. As Mr. Siadak said: “This place is maybe a little more wild than we give it credit for.”

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About the Contributors
Lorelei S. '25, Opinion Editor
Loves horses 🐎 Oldest sibling ❤️ Really crafty 🧶 English class 👍 Loves horses pt. 2* Employed by TeenTix 😎 Indie-pop fan 🎵
Be it rain or shine, face it with a smile!

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