Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

Terrible update to our snowy owl who was hit by a bus in Jan. then taken to Minnesota for care then released into the wild. The Raptor Center reports:

“Sadly, we’re writing today to let you know that The Raptor Center has learned the snowy owl’s body has been recovered from the shoulder of a Minnesota highway, near where he had been released last spring. The snowy’s cause of death is uncertain, but the placement of the body indicates he may have been hit by a vehicle. The body was in good condition, indicating the owl was successfully hunting, and was identifiable by a bird band placed on the leg prior to release.”

Photo via Washington Humane Society’s Facebook page

From the Washington Humane Society:

“The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) was alerted to a Pygmy goat just running down the street! He had obviously taken a few wrong turns, and was calculating his next move when he was spotted on V Street, NE, between 31st and 33rd Streets.

WHS Animal Care and Control Officer Beth Phillips was quickly en route. Sure enough, a young, male goat had been corralled by MPD into their vehicle maintenance facility. Officer Phillips arrived and sprang into action, easily leashing up our new friend and guiding him safely into her van.

Back at the New York Avenue animal center, Billy was given a deluxe suite in our agility yard. For the first few days his fame overwhelmed him, so he rested beneath the stairs. But after settling in, and spying on the nearby dogs inquisitively, Billy took to exploring his temporary home and lying in the sun.

In the meantime, WHS searched for a more suitable habitat for Billy, and soon found one with our friends at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, MD. Just three days later, Billy was once more catching a ride, this time to his new home.”

Washington Humane Society

Photo by PoPville flickr user quemac

Last week we learned “Thus far, presence of West Nile Virus has been noted in Wards 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8″. Add Ward 3 to the list. From an email today:

“Per recent laboratory results received from our army collaborators on West Nile Virus surveillance, the following mosquito pool was found positive for West Nile Virus:

• one pool containing 2 Culex sp. mosquitoes, collected on July 29 and confirmed on August 6, from the Massachusetts Avenue Heights neighborhood in Ward 3.

Thank you,
Maria Hille
Supervisory Biologist, M.S., Animal Disease Control/HRLA DC Department of Health / Government of the District of Columbia”

Photo by PoPville flickr user quemac

From an email:

“Please be informed that the West Nile Virus (WNV) has made presence in the District of Columbia since early June. When we discussed the positive results last year from your area, I anticipated a similar outcome of WNV infection for 2014 summer. This year up to now, the following mosquito pools were reported positive for West Nile Virus on August 5:

• eleven total pools containing a total of 108 Culex sp. mosquitoes, collected on July 24 from the west of Ward 8 and confirmed on July 31.

• two pools containing a total of 31 Culex sp. mosquitoes, collected on July 22 from the south of Ward 5 and confirmed on July 31.

Thus far, presence of West Nile Virus has been noted in Wards 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8. Moreover, your area at the western location in Ward 8 has received continuous positive results during the month of July up to the present.

Thank you for your collaboration,
Maria Hille

Supervisory Biologist, M.S., Animal Disease Control/HRLA DC Department of Health / Government of the District of Columbia”

Uh – break out time to break out the deet!!


“Mosquitos are always of concern and problematic during the hotter months of the year and especially during times of increased rain fall. To that point, the best method of minimizing mosquitos is to be sure that all standing water has been removed from a property including flower pots, buckets, open bins and old tires. Any standing water present on a property allows for the breeding cycle of mosquitos to perpetuate as noted by the mosquito larvae found in the standing water.

Additionally, properties that have large amounts of vegetation and/or wooded areas are also areas of increased mosquito populations. Decreasing vegetation and trimming trees and bushes will also help to decrease the mosquito population.

The Department of Health is able to send an investigator to a property to evaluate the area and to make recommendations. The Department of Health can also provide mosquito larvacide to be placed in District street drains to help decrease the mosquito population. The District does NOT however, allow or provide for the spraying of mosquitos do to the negative environmental impact on multiple species of animals and plant life. In addition, spraying leads to the increased complications associated with District residents who may show signs of respiratory distress and/or allergic reaction.

Please let us know if you would like for a member of our team to evaluate your property for recommendations on mosquito infestation.

Thank you,
Vito R. DelVento, DVM, MS
Executive Director | Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners
Program Manager | Animal Services Program
DC Department of Health | Government of the District of Columbia
899 North Capitol Street, NE | 2nd Floor | Washington, DC 20002
Office: (202) 724-8813 | Mobile: (202) 420-9250 | Fax: (202) 535-1359 |”


DC Beekeepers getting international recognition! Thanks to a reader for sending from the BBC:

“When you see a swarm of honeybees swarming around the city, who you gonna call?

If you’re in Washington DC, a call to the DC Beekeepers Alliance summons a well-trained apiarist ready to capture the bees safely and find them a new home in a community garden or rooftop hive.”

We talked about this in April withIf You See a Bee Swarm Don’t Panic, It’s a Good Thing – Call (202) 255 4318 for Help by DC Beekeepers. And saw them in action at the Newark Street Community Garden.

Video after the jump for sizing reasons: (more…)

Bat visiting Woodley Park in 2012


From an email:

“This is to inform you that a Big Brown bat in Ward 1, was determined rabid by the DC Department of Health on May 28, 2014. The animal was picked up on May 22 from the following addresses:

Bat – male adult Big Brown, found inside the bedroom of an apartment on May 22 at the 2000 blk of 16th St. NW in Ward 1. A similar situation involving a bat developed a week ago when a human/pet exposure resulted in the same general area in Ward 1.

Attached are flyers on Rabies and Animal Control Laws to the District’s residents. This is a message of prevention and caution on approaching any suspicious animals including loose cats and dogs in that area. Pet owners who allow cats and dogs to run at large in the woods expose their pets to possible Rabies transmission and Lyme disease, which can also be transmitted to humans.

Brochure-Rabies (PDF)

Brochure-Animal Control Laws (PDF)

Moreover, the following is pertinent information to assist the residents with advise on exclusionary methods, such as securing trash cans and other food sources, repairing and patching holes in attics and block crawl spaces such as porches and sheds against intrusion of wildlife. Wild animals are attracted to food waste. Thus sanitation issues should be prevented. The city does not to remove an animal from its habitat, unless sick or injured. Therefore, it’s important for residents to read our flyers for tips to discourage the proximity of urban wildlife into their properties and learn about signs of abnormal behavior.

Thank you,

Maria Hille
Supervisory Biologist, M.S., Animal Disease Control/HRLA
DC Department of Health / Government of the District of Columbia”

According to the National Park Service:

Are there coyotes in Rock Creek Park?

YES- The first recorded sighting in the park was in May 2004; they were confirmed by park staff in September 2004. Sightings have been recorded continuously since 2004. Most of the sightings have been in the upper section of the park between Military and Wise Roads. Several sightings have been reported in the neighborhoods adjacent to the park as well. Presently, there is no estimate of the population size in the park but the number is believed to be small.

Are they dangerous to people?

Coyotes generally are not interested in confronting people, even small children. Of course, parents should always keep an eye on children while in the park, but coyotes pose no special danger. They are usually not aggressive toward humans unless humans attempt to feed or interact with coyotes. While there are reports of coyotes attacking and killing a person, these types of incidents are extremely rare. Remember, coyotes are wild animals. They can be seen during the day, but they are most active in the evening and at night when the park is closed to pedestrian visitors.

Are they dangerous to pets?

MAYBE- Coyotes will hunt house cats and small dogs. However, if your pet is leashed (as DC and National Park Service regulations require) and you and your pet are on a trail (as Rock Creek Park regulations require), a coyote will likely not try to attack.

What should I do if I see a coyote?

You can stop and watch, but do not approach it. As with any wild animal, if it feels threatened by someone coming toward it or chasing it, it may feel the need to protect itself. DO NOT FEED or attempt to feed them. Once a wild animal gets accustomed to being fed by humans there is much more likelihood that an individual will get bitten by an animal looking for food.

If you see a coyote in the Washington, D.C. portion of Rock Creek Park, report the sighting to Resource Management Specialist Ken Ferebee at 202-895-6221. Let Ken know the date, time and location you saw the animal. Try to be as specific as possible. Leave your name and phone number so Ken can call you back if he has more questions.”