A northern hawk-owl has been hanging around North Alouette River for the last few weeks. (Contributed)

Northern visitor enthralls birders in Maple Ridge

Hawk-owl hanging around North Alouette River

They’ve been trucking in from all over, traipsing down the Alouette River dike in their camo gear and packing their fast, long lenses in search of an elusive prey.

And they’ve been able to find it, and shoot it.

The northern hawk-owl has been hanging around the area for about a month, to the delight of bird enthusiasts who’ve been flocking to the area.

“It’s a small species of owl. They’re more common farther north, so it’s a pretty rare sight to have them down here. It’s kind of a treat,” said Ross Davies, with Kanaka Educational and Environmental Society.

Once word gets out on social media, the photographers show up in numbers.

Parking areas along 216th Street are jammed on the weekend as photographers keep trying to get photos before the bird disappears.

For now, life is probably a bit easier for the visitor accustomed to the harsher, winter climates.

“He’s probaby got everything he needs. The hunting for raptors is pretty good this time of year. The grass is low. The foliage is down. They can see everything. You want to find a predator, go look where the food is,” Davies added.

He said the hawk-owl should move on once spring arrives.

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