This lion guards the Renwick Gallery of craft and decorative arts at 17th & Pennsylvania Ave, NW.  Adorably enough, it holds a bird’s nest in its gaping maw. 

The Renwick Lion, like many of the lions of DC, can be described as a mascaron.  Wikipedia Wisdom tells us that “In architecture, a mascaron ornament is a face, usually human, sometimes frightening or chimeric whose function was originally to frighten away evil spirits so that they would not enter the building.”

Thanks, little guy!