Rare owl spotted on SFU campus

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Owl watching sure is a real hoot!

[dropcap]Bus[/dropcap] riders on the 145 may have seen a gaggle of individuals with camera and binoculars, setting up camp on the side of Gaglardi Way this past week. The onlookers have gathered to see the Great Gray Owl, an elusive species which is not native to the Vancouver area.  

DSC07435It is a very large owl, the largest in size in North America. While the Great Horned Owl and Snowy Owl are far heavier with larger talons, the Great Gray is essentially just a big ball of feathers. However, its colorization and crescent-shaped face are simply transcendent.

According to one bird watcher, the owl has been spotted on Burnaby Mountain in the vicinity of the SFU sign for the past two weeks.  Crowds have formed along the roadside on days it is visible to motorists.

This reporter spotted the owl due to the presence of one lone photographer. A small crowd soon formed to gaze at the majestic species perched so close and visible to the roadside. One woman enthusiastically exclaimed, “I work here and finally I have a chance to see it!”

The Great Gray Owl is such a prize for birders that it was prominently featured in the birding movie, “The Big Year.”  In the most poignant scene of the movie, the protagonist, played by Jack Black sees a Great Gray Owl on a nature hike with his father. Nature lovers are highly encouraged to check out the owl while it graces SFU with its presence. It may be a once in a lifetime experience to see such a rare treasure so close.