From reader Bryan McGannon come these photos of a Snowy Owl hanging out on an awning at 1500 K Street NW today. That's right: A Hedwig in D.C.
As the American Bird Conservancy reports, Snowy Owls are "rarely seen in most parts of the U.S." But just this month, a Snowy Owl was spotted at National Airport, and another was captured at Baltimore/Washington International Airport in late December. According to the eBird spotting map, Snowy Owls have also been seen at Gravelly Point Park and Hains Point.
[American Bird Conservancy conservation officer Jason] Berry said that the presence of the bird in the D.C. area is part of what may be a record-setting “irruption” by the species in the lower 48 states. He said the bird is visiting many states farther south than usual as a result of a bumper crop of young Snowy Owls in their Arctic breeding grounds last spring. That bumper crop of baby owls was made possible by an unusual abundance of lemmings—small, mole-like rodents that are a staple of the bird’s diet.
According to a Audubon Naturalist Society report, a Snowy Owl "was photographed on top of a statue in [McPherson] Square on January 17." Countdown to McPherson Square Snowy Owl parody Twitter account begins ... now.