A snowy owl who recently took up residence in the Washington area was apparently struck by a bus Thursday morning and brought to the Smithsonian's National Zoo for treatment.
The bus hit the bird near 15th and I streets NW, according to a press release from the zoo. Metropolitan Police found the injured bird and alerted the National Zoological Police, a federal enforcement agency for the Smithsonian.
The snowy owl, believed to be female, was "alert and responsive but subdued" when Metro police officers brought it to the National Zoo, where it's being treated by staff veterinarians. The bird did not sustain any "obvious" physical injuries, but blood present in its mouth suggested head trauma. The owl was given pain medication and fluids through an IV, and will undergo X-rays.
The snowy owl was treated by National Zoo veterinarians Thursday morning after it was reportedly struck by a bus in downtown Washington. (Smithsonian's National Zoo/Flickr)
The zoo's medical team "made sure the bird was comfortable and in a quiet atmosphere." City Wildlife, a D.C. wild-animal rescue and rehabilitation center, tweeted Thursday afternoon that the owl had been placed in its care. The snowy owl will recover at the facility, and will then be released into the wild.
The snowy owl has been spotted perched atop various buildings in downtown D.C. in recent weeks, delighting pedestrians who suddenly become unfazed by freezing temperatures and stopped to take the bird's picture. Earlier this week, it was spotted at The Washington Post's headquarters.
Snowy-owl sightings have been on the rise in various cities — which can be deadly environments for the fluffy birds — along the East Coast. Get better soon, D.C. owl.