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Twitter-Famous Snowy Owl Receiving Treatment After Being Hit By Metrobus

Jen Zoon, Smithsonian's National Zoo

The snowy owl that captured the hearts of D.C. residents after appearing near McPherson Square in downtown Washington last week is being treated at the National Zoo after apparently being struck by a bus on Thursday.

Metropolitan Police found the owl injured after it was reportedly struck by a bus in the area of 15th and I Streets NW. MPD reported the injured bird to the National Zoological Police, who turned it over to the National Zoo for treatment.

The snowy owl, believed to be a female based on its size and markings, was alert and responsive according to a spokesman for the National Zoo. Veterinarians found blood in the bird's mouth consistent with head trauma, but there were no other apparent injuries. She is being treated with pain medication.

This snowy owl is one of tens of thousands of birds migrating from the Arctic in what one ecologist called "probably the biggest irruption that most of us will ever see in our life."

This particular snowy owl became a social media sensation after a visit to The Washington Post building, prompting the use of the Twitter hashtag #WaPoOwl. Just last night, a photo was posted on the D.C. Reddit showing the snowy owl perched on a dead rat.

The zoo said the owl was taken to City Wildlife, a wildlife rehabilitation facility in the District.

City Wildlife biologist Abby Hehmeyer says they will give the owl x-rays to try and spot missed injuries, but the goal is to release her as soon as possible.

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