A Montreal highway traffic camera received a majestic visitor earlier this month: a female snowy owl.
The camera, located on Montreal's Highway 40 at Boulevard des Sources, captured the bird in flight around 8 a.m. on January 3rd.
Quebec Minister of Transport Robert Poëti shared still images of the bird's flyby on Twitter on Thursday. When the photos became an instant sensation, the province decided to release the video footage.
Barbara Frei, director of the McGill Bird Observatory, told CBC the owl was likely looking for a place to perch. She noted snowy owls are often drawn to highways because the open fields on either side provide ample opportunity for hunting small rodents.
Snowy owls breed north of the Arctic Circle, but are known to head south in the winter, sometimes as far as southern Ontario and Quebec.