Snowy owl hit by bus
By The Associated Press
Published: Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, 9:03 p.m.
WASHINGTON — A rare snowy owl recently searching for food in the nation's capital and perching at The Washington Post was apparently hit by a bus and was treated Thursday at the National Zoo.
District of Columbia police found the injured bird downtown, and it was brought to the zoo shortly after 2 a.m., said zoo spokeswoman Annalisa Meyer. A veterinarian was called in to treat the owl for an apparent head injury and administered pain medication.
It was later transferred to a city wildlife rehabilitation facility for additional treatment. A biologist at City Wildlife planned to give the owl X-rays and release it back into the wild. Veterinarians believe it's a female.
Snowy owls aren't usually seen in the region, but scientists say they have been moving far south of their Arctic habitats searching for food because of a population spike or a severe shortage of lemmings, their primary food.
Snowy owls have been spotted along the East Coast in recent weeks as far south as Florida. In late December, a snowy owl was trapped and relocated away from Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and they have been spotted near other Washington airports.
Another owl was killed Wednesday when it was hit by a plane at Philadelphia International Airport.
It's the biggest “irruption” of the Arctic owls that any bird expert remembers, said Ellen Paul, executive director of the Washington-based Ornithological Council.
“This is truly extraordinary,” she said. “They're being seen all over the place, all over the East Coast.”
Cities and confused, lost owls don't mix well, though, she said. The snowy owls come from places where there are no vehicles, no roads, no cats and no rat poison, which can all cause harm.
It's not a bird species that normally migrates, so snowy owls don't know where they are or where to find food.
“Part of it is they are just hungry and tired, and they're settling wherever they end up,” Paul said.
Humans spotted the owl with its white feathers, yellow eyes and rotating head this week and got busy snapping pictures and making the bird famous on social media. But when Paul heard the owl made its home downtown, she said she didn't want to go see it because she knew it could be in danger.
“I was pretty sure this bird was going to end up being hit by a vehicle because what happens when they focus on prey, they literally lock on it like a heat seeking missile,” she said. “And they're going to go diving directly onto it and not even notice what else is around them.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Scientists: Test West Coast for Fukushima radiation
- Expats renounce citizenship over U.S. tax hassles
- Oklahoma governor’s daughter regrets wearing Native American headdress
- El Nino could bring relief to U.S.
- Spyware in government computers ‘has Russian paw prints all over it’
- Immigrant detainees on hunger strike
- Wikileaks founder teases about more secrets to be released
- Obama gets in some golf on family trip to Key Largo
- Obama losing close adviser to end 9 years of service
- California man named as bitcoin creator denies involvement
- Sullivan case still relied on in libel claims