Photo courtesy Mallory Yu

It is no secret that we at PoPville are quite fond of street chickens. So it was with great joy that I received the following email late yesterday afternoon:

“NPR found a chicken this morning. It is now sleeping quietly in the office of our former International Editor. It’s a hell of a story. If you’re interested, please follow up.”

Sweeter words were never read. So follow up I did. Following is the story of the NPR street chicken.

npr chicken

Many thanks to Adam Cole who filled in the details:

“I’m a science reporter here at NPR who runs a blog/youtube channel called Skunk Bear.

Yesterday, I glanced out the window and saw a decidedly fancy chicken strutting around on the grass in front of the DC Housing Department. It had attracted the attention of several NPR employees, including music librarian Robert Goldstein and the head of our health blog, Scott Hensley. I headed downstairs to get a closer look. A passerby (in pic 02, NY hat) was alternatively fascinated with and terrified of the bird. “What is that thing?” he asked repeatedly.

Foreign affairs correspondent Jackie Northam arrived on the scene expressing concern for the chicken’s safety. We bystanders resolved to catch the chicken and protect it from the morning North Capitol traffic. Ten embarrassing minutes later, I had grass stains on my knees and the chicken had given in to stereotypes and crossed the road.

Enter Jason Beaubien, chicken owner and neighborhood hero. Hardened by years of covering coup attempts in the Ivory Coast and Mexico’s drug war, Jason rallied us all to corner the chicken in a tuft of ornamental grass where he was finally able to grab it. The chicken sensed Jason’s quite power and calmed down immediately. It is now resting in the vacated office of our former international editor (now executive editor of news), Edith Chapin, inside a converted mail bin. (more…)


A reader submits:

“My husband found this juvenile common snapping turtle under the steps of our house leading to the basement on Friday. We’re in the middle on Columbia Heights so there isn’t water anywhere nearby–we have no idea how he/she made it to our front yard. After some research by me and some fascinated viewed by the kids, we took a trip to Rock Creek near Pierce Mill to give it a new home. It settled into the water immediately and seemed very relieved.”



“Dear PoPville,

Yesterday I took my first walk along the tow path in Georgetown since moving to DC 8 years ago. I’m not sure why I never visited it sooner, but I was impressed with how clean the water looked and was kind of surprised at all the aquatic life I saw enjoying a warm summer day. But then like a screeching record, I spotted this (see attached pics).

There it was … a snakehead just chilling out. I have heard they’re incredibly invasive and can inflict significant damage in the waters where they live. I’m wondering what PoPville readers know about them. Is the canal infested with them? Can anything be done to get rid of them? Or are they just part of the ecosystem now and not anything to worry about?”


From the Tidal Potomac Fly Rodders fact sheet:

Aren’t those “Frankenfish” in there?
Yes, there are Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) in the Tidal Potomac River. The Snakehead is a non-native species to this watershed, but so are Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass (introduced in 1854). Snakeheads are a blast to catch. They will take a well presented fly, fight hard, and make great table fare.

If I catch a Snakehead, what should I do?
There is no legal requirement to kill a Snakehead if you catch one. However, it is illegal to possess one alive. The laws require that you either release the fish or kill it on the spot if you are keeping it. While it is not illegal to release a Snakehead if you choose, the VDGIF, MDDNR, and the USFWS are still asking anglers to kill all Snakeheads caught in an effort to help control the propagation of this species. Please visit their respective websites for more details. If you catch a Snakehead bearing a USFWS tag, you are asked to kill the fish, retain the tag, and call the number on it. You will be asked questions about where it was caught, how it was caught, its size, and its approximate weight. Also, the USFWS may wish to collect the fish. For your efforts, you will be rewarded with a “Snakehead Control” hat, which is a coveted prize among TPFR members.”