Owl stars in daytime spectacle for shutterbugs

May 27, 2015 13:06
Zoom cameras are trained on the owl which has been obliging a group of nature enthusiasts. An expert said the bird belongs to a protected species. Photos: Apple Daily

Most owls are nocturnal birds, so they're not terribly fond of daylight.

Not this one.

The Indian scops owl has been starring in a daytime spectacle before dozens of camera bugs after pictures of it went viral on social media.

The bird was first spotted by a group of schoolgirls from the Chinese University of Hong Kong during a night outing in Tsung Tsai Yuen village in Hong Kong's Tai Po district.

The girls snapped the owl and uploaded the photos to a website, triggering a search for the bird the next day by shutterbugs armed with zoom cameras, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.

They were not disappointed. 

The owl showed up at an open-air car park and dozens of cameras clicked away.

The owl did not seem to be bothered by the light. It stood regally on its perch, flapping its wings and yawning -- even gawking at the long lenses with its big eyes -- as its fans took it all in.

Dr. Gary W.J. Ades, head of the fauna conservation department in Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden, said the owl could be from the otus bakkamoena species endemic to Hong Kong.

The species originated from the Indian subcontinent and spread across southern Asia.

Ivan Tse, an assistant research officer of the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society, said it is rare for an owl to show up during daytime, let alone be photographed under the sun.

Tse said owls are a protected species in Hong Kong and use of flash photography on them might be illegal.

He urged the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, the top animal welfare watchdog, to help the bird return to its natural habitat.

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