Rare owl brings crowd to brewery - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Rare owl brings crowd to brewery

MIDDLETON (WKOW)-- In today's fast-paced world very few things have the power to capture the attention of thousands of people, but in downtown Middleton a natural attraction is creating a whole lot of buzz.

In show business you'll often hear people talking about the "It" factor, the hard to explain quality that separates the good from the great.

"It's like he was posing for us up there," photographer Hugh Limburg says.

Who knew that a solitary owl stopping by the Capital Brewery in downtown Middleton would have "It."

"We were so excited we had no idea what it was," Deb Menz of Capital Brewery says.

Last Thursday workers at the brewery posted a picture of the Great Grey Owl on their facebook page and within hours comments and likes came pouring in and a star was born.

"We had people that have come to the brewery that said they came from Indiana and Illinois to just see this bird," Menz says.

Both beginner and veteran bird watchers with cameras ranging from cell phones to professional camouflage cameras.

"We don't get to see this species very often this far South," Limburg says.

Experts with the Department of Natural Resources believe the owl flew South to find food. During bad Winters the rodent populations are hit hard and owls are start moving South. It's a rare occasion that brought two 25-year bird-watching veterans all the way from the suburbs of Chicago.

"We're just very pleased that we were able to make the trip today from Illinois to see it," bird watcher Sue Tinkle says.

Others traveled even further than that. Volunteers from Raptor Education Group Inc. drove three and a half hours from Antigo Wisconsin, only to check on the bird's health and well-being.

"From what I can tell he appears to be in at least decent health," Raptor Education Group Volunteer Lance Holms says.

It's a good sign for the paparazzi and fans who keep coming in droves. Everyone is eager to get a glimpse of this local celebrity before he decides to move on.

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