Saw-Whet Owls at Highland Brewing

The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, in association with Lees McRae College and Highland Brewing, joined together Monday in celebration of the Northern Saw-whet Owl and Highland’s seasonal brew, the Saw-whet Saison.

Shortly before 7 p.m. on Monday, animal lovers and beer aficionados gathered in Highland Brewing Company’s special events space hoping to catch a sip of the Saw-whet Saison and a glimpse of the miniature Owl for which the beer was named.

Ninah Fischesser, from the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute, said these owls are a threatened species due to the destruction of their natural habitats in the region. Fischesser says one goal of the SAHC is to purchase tracts of land in high elevations in order to provide these animals with an ecosystem safe from humans and their house-pets.

Handlers carried the tiny owls through the crowd to a chorus of camera-shutters and “oohs” and “awws” from onlookers. In addition to the two Saw-whet Owls, the organization brought a Barn Owl, as well as an albino squirrel.

Fischesser said these types of events are intended to create awareness and inspire attendees to help the voiceless creatures of the region.

“Be cognizant of the animals,” Fischesser said, “like, if you see something on the road, make sure that it’s not still alive and maybe try to save it. You can always call us if you find something and it looks too dangerous.”

For more information on the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy click here.

Behind the bar in the Highland Brewing's main room directs lost customers to the special event space.

Behind the bar in the Highland Brewing’s main room directs lost customers to the special event space.

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A bartender pours a pint of the Saw-whet Saison, a seasonal brew named for the Saw-whet Owl.

A bartender pours a pint of the Saw-whet Saison, a seasonal brew named for the Saw-whet Owl.

A Northern Saw-whet Owl sits perched atop it's handler's hand.

A Northern Saw-whet Owl sits perched atop it’s handler’s hand.

 

The presentation's audience was a mixture of aviary-enthusiasts, young and old.

The presentation’s audience was a mixture of aviary-enthusiasts, young and old.

Alongside the Saw-whet Owls, a Barn Owl was introduced to the audience.

Alongside the Saw-whet Owls, a Barn Owl was introduced to the audience.

An albino squirrel from Brevard, N.C.

An albino squirrel from Brevard, N.C.

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is a threatened species, often being hit by vehicles while hunting for roadkill..

The Northern Saw-whet Owl is a threatened species, they are often hit by vehicles while hunting for roadkill.