Remarkable footage of a snowy owl was caught by a West Island traffic camera and it had taken the internet by storm back in 2016.
The snowy owl was sitting on top of a pole that overlooked Highway 40 at Sources Boulevard. The pictures of the bird were captured by a Transport Quebec Camera. The image went viral shortly thereafter after Robert Poëti tweeted the same to his followers.
The Transport Minister’s post was retweeted by his followers 588 times and was shared by thousands on Facebook.
Within a few days, the footage was seen by millions.
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The white bird with black spots all over its body was seen spreading its wings against the snowy background.
According to the words of Barbara Frei, who is the director of the McGill Bird Observatory, this bird was looking for a place to perch.
“I think they are attracted specifically to the highway because it has open, grassy fields nearby which is perfect for hunting their favorite prey, which is small rodents,” she said.
“They like to get a good lay of the land and the high lamp posts or other posts that they can perch on while hunting just suits them perfectly.”
What Was The Snowy Owl Doing There?
The question that is on everyone’s minds is, “What is the Snowy Owl doing so close to the Bar-B-Barn in Pointe-Claire?”
— Sarah Leavitt (@sarahleavittcbc) January 7, 2016
“Actually, it’s fairly common to see them in the Montreal area,” said Barbara Frei. “That stretch of highway seems to be a bit infamous for having one or two hanging around. Perhaps it’s just the area, with the (Pierre Elliott Trudeau) airport nearby, they like wide-open spaces. They’re from the tundra, from north of 60 to the arctic circle, so they’re kind of looking for that open, treeless area.”
“The overpass has those high perches, (the owl) can sit on, get a lay of the land and have a really good bird’s eye view — hate to be corny about it — to look for small rodents, voles, and other preferred prey in this area. I’ve seen them driving along with the 40. Upon the light posts in the wintertime for years. I imagine it was landing right above the camera which is why there’s that perfectly composed shot.”
Frei says snowy owls breed north of the Arctic Circle, where they hunt in the summer.
“They’ll migrate to their ‘winter vacation,’ which can be all the way down to southern Canada, in the Montreal region or places in Ontario.”