A snowy owl's traffic camera flyby in Montreal Sunday along Highway 40 has been shared nearly 18,000 times on Facebook since its release by a Canadian traffic official on Thursday.
The snowy owl appears to peer into the camera as it swoops by.
"An impressive solo was captured in full flight on the morning of 3 January, by the surveillance cameras of the road network on Highway 40," Quebec's transport minister Robert Poëti said in a translated statement on Facebook Thursday.
Barbara Frei, director of the McGill Bird Observatory, told CBC News
that she believes the owl was looking for a convenient place to perch. The observatory monitors the distribution and movements of Canadian wildlife for research.
"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," Frei 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."
"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," she continued.
According to National Geographic, snowy owls breed
in the Arctic tundra and sometimes remain there year round, though they will frequently migrate to Canada, the northern United States, Europe, and Asia.
The availability of lemming, its preferred meal, usually determines how far south the owls will fly, where they can often be found in open fields, marshes, and beaches, NatGeo said.
The flyby video won over many on social media.
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