The snowy owl that has been spotted recently in the Washington D.C. area was brought to the Smithsonian's National Zoo for care early this morning after reportedly being hit by a bus in the 15th and I St. area of the District. The owl was found by the Metropolitan Police who reported the injury to the National Zoological Police. The owl was transferred by the DC Police to the Zoo and cared for by Dr. Jessica Siegal-Willott at the Zoo's hospital.
Upon arrival, the snowy owl was alert and responsive but subdued. There were no obvious physical injuries but there was blood on the bird. Upon further examination, blood was found in the mouth which is consistent with suspected head trauma. The owl was provided supportive care which included pain medication, Meloxicam, and non-steroid inflammatory drug akin to aspirin and provided fluids sub-cutaneously. 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. Per standard and established protocol, wild animals such as this snowy owl, are provided care and released back into the wild by a state or in this case a city-affiliated animal organization. City Wildlife Biologist Abby Hehmeyer says they will give the owl x-rays in order to determine any missed injuries, but their goal is to release her as soon as possible.
Our team of veterinarians believes the owl is female. This was determined by the size and color, since females tend to be a little larger and darker than male snowy owls.