D.C. Snowy Owl Treated After Being Hit by Bus

By Joshua Axelrod
|  Thursday, Jan 30, 2014  |  Updated 11:28 PM EDT
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A snowy owl that has captivated D.C. this winter was apparently met with an all-too-urban mishap: It is being treated for injuries sustained from being hit by a bus.

The owl was reportedly injured by the bus in the vicinity of 15th and I streets. It was found by Metropolitan police, who reported the owl’s injury to the National Zoological Police. 

The owl was taken to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo earlier today for treatment. It's now in the care of the City Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center, which announced late Thursday night the owl is in stable condition.

A zoo press release described the owl’s initial condition as “responsive but subdued.” Though there were no obvious physical injuries on the bird, a further examination found blood in her mouth, a symptom consistent with head trauma.

Abby Hehmeyer, a city wildlife biologist, said the Zoo will give the owl X-rays in order to check for any missed injuries.

“Our team made sure the bird was comfortable and in a quiet atmosphere while waiting for it to be picked up by City Wildlife for rehabilitation,” zoo officials said in the press release.

City Wildlife plans to release her back into the wild as soon as possible, as per standard protocol.

Zoo veterinarians determined the owl was a female based on its size and color (female snowy owls tend to be a little larger and darker than males).

The owl has become a minor D.C. celebrity, even spawning her own Twitter account, @DCSnowyOwl. She currently has 480 followers and has been tweeting throughout the real owl’s ordeal.

Snowy owls are generally found much farther north than D.C., ranging from the Arctic tundra to parts of Canada, Alaska and Eurasia. But the birds sometimes find their ways as far south as Texas and Georgia.

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