News & Politics

DC’s Latest Celebrit-Owl Has Been Perched at Union Station All Week

Here's what the rare raptor and her many fans have been up to.

The snowy owl of 2022. Photograph by Sam Krause and Drew Bailey.

Move over, hot duck of Manhattan. There’s a chill snowy owl in DC that’s the newest avian internet sensation. 

Who-hoo? If you haven’t been following bird Twitter—and really, you should—the rare raptor, apparently female, has been causing quite a stir since her  arrival in the nation’s capitol, thrilling bird enthusiasts and un-enthusiasts alike (also allegedly eating rats, which is universally helpful). Snowy owls are native to northern climes like the Arctic and rarely seen this far south—although a few have been spotted around here in recent years. Sadly, a snowy owl was hit by a DC bus in 2014. That owl was sent to rehab, released, and subsequently died in Minnesota. 

According to the Washington Post, this owl arrived in December, showing up at Arlington’s National Airport, the area around McMillan Reservoir, and the National Mall. Union Station now seems to be her primary perch. Majestic! Which is not something we ever say about Amtrak.

Washington’s OG snowy owl Twitter sprang back to life. @DCSnowyOwl has been pretty quiet since the last, ill-fated snowy owl sighting in DC.

People began braving sub-zero temperatures to spot the celebritowl.

Some viewed the owl’s appearance as patriotic. (Of course, Fox, make it all about AMERICA.)

Even though, according to New York-based owl expert David Lei, the owl is, in fact, Canadian.

And, maybe, a doppelgänger for late American insult comic Don Rickles…

Anyway! Most people are simply delighted by the owl’s presence. Especially when it sits on OTHER birds—silly owl!

Experts have welcomed the opportunity to crack their eggs of knowledge.

And the puns are just…(kisses fingers like a cartoon chef).

The snowy owl isn’t just stunning. It’s also alleviating DC’s rodent problem (note to self: Smorgasbord of Rats, excellent metal band name).

In short: DC is owl about this snowbird. Stay as long as you like!

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Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.