Rosy sunset rays eke in from the left, the wind whooshes and ruffles white and spotted feathers, and a pair of beady eyes stare straight into yours.
Meet the rare white gyrfalcon that has been perching on a camera in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada, that was set up to take video of the Northern Lights. The camera was installed on behalf of the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, a non-profit educational and research facility, by Explore.org, a multimedia group that puts camera eyes on nature around the world. The gyrfalcon photobomb is a bonus.
"They're not that common to begin with but they hang out here in the wintertime," Heidi den Haan, assistant director of the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, told CBC News. "It's kind of fun that at night you get the northern lights and during the day you're getting this bird."
The Globe and Mail went so far as to script a cutesy greeting.
“Oh hey there!” the newspaper said in its intro to the 16-second version of the video, calling the bird’s presence “a welcome surprise, if you ask us.”
It is of course not the first animal photobomb to hit remote cameras. We have documented marmots, squirrels and even an eagle interacting with cameras in various ways.
Now it’s the gyrfalcon’s turn for its close-up.