Mardi Foster-Walker snapped a photo of a Snowy Owl on her balcony last week.

A Vancouver woman says it was a hoot when a snowy owl perched on the balcony of her West End apartment Thursday.

“I couldn’t believe it,” said Mardi Foster-Walker, who looked outside to see the white owl after hearing a kerfuffle of crows in a tree outside her apartment.

“It’s really unusual to see an owl Downtown.”

Foster-Walker said the owl flew away then came back again a second time, when she was able to snap a photo on her iPad.

A biologist agreed that an owl in the city is an unusual occurrence.

“That’s very strange,” said Wayne Goodey, a zoology professor at the University of B.C.

“Normally they prefer marshy areas and flat, open country.”

Goodey said an explanation could be that it was a young owl spending its first winter here and either didn’t know what to do or was pushed out of the nest by its parents.

“If the bird shows a remarkable tameness, that often comes out of desperation,” said Goodey, adding that the owl could have been hungry.

But why did the owl perch on the balcony and not one of the trees outside Foster-Wallace’s apartment?

“I think in this case it was a convenient perch. They don’t want to go into the tightly-spaced branches of a tree.”
Either way, Foster-Wallace sees the owl as a good luck charm.

“It’s like a good omen,” she said.

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