Traffic camera snaps breathtaking shots of snowy owl (PHOTOS)

Jan 8, 2016 at 5:24 p.m. ET

This week, animal lovers around the world got treated to rare photos of a snowy owl in flight. The great photographer responsible for these breathtaking images? A humble traffic camera.

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Transport Minister Robert Poëti tweeted the photos yesterday of the owl soaring over Montreal's Highway 40. He also shared the images on Facebook, which are going viral with over 16,000 likes and 20,000 shares.

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And what's a snowy owl doing in Montreal this time of year, cruising over the highway, no less?

"I think they are attracted specifically to the highway because it has open, grassy fields nearby, which is perfect for hunting their favourite prey, which is small rodents," Barbara Frei, the director of McGill Bird Observatory, told CBC News.

"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.” 

She says the owl would likely have spent its summer hunting in the Arctic Circle, and is now migrating down to southern Canada for its "winter vacation."

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Take a peek at some of the stunning photos of the owl caught by the traffic camera:

Snowy owl
Image: Robert Poëti/Facebook

Snowy Owl
Image: Robert Poëti/Facebook
snowy owl
Image: Robert Poëti/Facebook

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