Audubon Southwest, Arizona Wilderness unveil Superb Owl winner

Feb 11, 2023, 5:12 PM
(Twitter Photo/GCU News)...
(Twitter Photo/GCU News)
(Twitter Photo/GCU News)

PHOENIX — Congratulations to the birds that won the Superb Owl competition in Arizona.

Not the Philadelphia Eagles, who play in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, but the much smaller cactus ferruginous pygmy owls found in mesquite thickets of southern Arizona.

Audubon Southwest and the Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company saw an opportunity to combine their efforts for bird conservation and beer with the Super Bowl in town.

The partners set up the Superb Owl social media bracket contest involving Arizona’s native owl species for people to learn more about their local raptors.

The pygmy owl bested the great horned owl and the burrowing owl in the final round for their version of the Lombardi trophy.

“I don’t think people realize how many owl species make their home in Arizona,” Ashley Benson, head brewer at Arizona Wilderness Brewing Company, told the Audubon Society.

The exercise also promoted the recently launched “Superb Owl” beer by Arizona Wilderness, a company that shoots for sustainability by using a special type of barley malt grown in Arizona that requires less water.

North America has 18 owl species, and Arizona houses 13 of them which predominantly hunt at night. The Audubon Society said that owls can be found in many different environments across Arizona, including suburban neighborhoods, conifer forests and throughout the desert.

The cactus ferruginous pygmy owl is proposed threatened under the Endangered Species Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service primarily due to habitat loss.

The unveiling of the winning bird and launch of the brew came at the first Birds ‘N Beer event since 2019, which brings in community members to learn about local flyers and conservation efforts.

“Events like Birds n’ Beer bring people together from all walks of life and expose people to the fact that they have a voice,” Policy Director for Audubon Southwest Haley Paul said. “They have an ability to change what’s going on, and they can get involved.”

The Audubon Society lists more ways to help Arizona’s owls online.

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Audubon Southwest, Arizona Wilderness unveil Superb Owl winner