57.2 F
West Bend

VIDEO | The Potted Owl cookies are at Green Dog Market in West Bend, WI

West Bend, WI – Neighbors in West Bend, WI, are enjoying the saga of The Potted Owl where a Great Horned owl nested in a flowerpot on a 3rd floor balcony. Now, the beloved owls are taking on new life at Green Dog Market, 237 N. Main Street, as owner/baker Stefanie Ulma has created an owl cookie in honor of River and Oscar.

I had some cookies for Easter and thought I’d branch off and recognize the owls,” she said.

Click HERE to SUBSCRIBE to FREE local news at

Washington County Insider on YouTube

The cookies are organic, and the owls are decked out with a thick fluffy frosting of feathers.

“It’s such an enchanting love story – how could we not wrap our arms around them,” Ulma said.

After landing in the flowerpot around March 12, River is now roosting on two eggs. Christine and John, who are overseeing the air B&B, expect owlets to arrive in the next couple of weeks.

potted

“We’ll see how these cookies go and then change things up when the owlets arrive,” said Ulma.

Owls are already a theme at Green Dog Market, as Ulma’s mother fancied the birds.

Click HERE to follow Green Dog Market on Instagram

Green Dog Market will be open Monday through Friday 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Be sure to sign up for Green Dog’s new 3-part health series starting April 18. Details below.

Below is a story about the couple currently giving up their balcony to a pair of Great Horned owls.

West Bend, WI – It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience as a Great Horned owl and its mate have nested in a flowerpot on a balcony in West Bend, WI and the couple that live in the condo are documenting the experience for all to see. “How much do we cater to her feelings,” said Christine. “The whole damn day.”

Christine Moczynski and her husband John were shocked, like everyone else, when they found a Great Horned owl had moved into an empty planter on their 3rd floor balcony. They were even more surprised when the owl left to stretch her wings and they discovered two eggs in the nest.

Click HERE to SUBSCRIBE to

FREE local news at
Washington County Insider on YouTube  

Since that day, March 12, the couple started a social media platform called: The Potted Owl. They invested in cameras, computers, and Googled their way through YouTube livestream tutorials to share broadcasts and updates of their lives with a pair of Great Horned owls.

“We named the female River, because she flew up into a tree along the river when we first noticed her,” said Christine.

cast iron

Oscar was a different story. “We were trying to figure out the name for him and it was St. Patrick’s Day and he shows up in the middle of the night and we’re laughing because it’s about 2 a.m. and we wondered if he was out at the bars,” said John.

“But if he shows up, it’s usually the middle of the night and River’s feathers are always so nice and put together. And he comes out and he’s so disheveled and he reminded us of Oscar from ‘The Odd Couple’ TV show,” said Christine.

The name stuck, and then, when the couple made their social media debut… the audience stuck too.

“We initially had about 34 people… mostly neighbors,” said Christine. “We wondered if we would ever reach like 500 followers.”

As of Wednesday night, March 27, 2024, The Potted Owl fan base had grown to 1800+ on Facebook

The community’s response was overwhelming.  “A bunch of characters just came out of the woodwork. It’s been a real feel-good nature story,” said Christine.

Their lives had changed dramatically since River nested in their flowerpot. Christine’s husband hoped this experience would lead them in a new direction. “I want this to change our lives,” he told her. She admitted to initially rolling her eyes, but now she can’t deny the impact the owls have on them… including their entertainment choices.

“River seems to have an appreciation for British murder mysteries,” said Christine. “So, we’ve been playing an enormous amount of Britbox and Acorn.”

Despite the excitement, Christine remains focused on showing how wildlife can adapt to urban surroundings. “We as human beings need to be good stewards of this planet and help wildlife to find their way through as we continue to encroach on their space.” The experience taught her the importance of coexisting with wildlife and respecting their habitats even if that means sharing a flowerpot on her balcony.

“This thread is for owl and wildlife lovers,” she said.

It’s a testament to the unique journey they are on with guests on their balcony.

Coming up next… preparing for owlets.
Below are a couple initial stories prior to The Potted Owl becoming a “thing.”

March 24, 2024 – West Bend, WI – Not sure if there will be a red carpet but The Potted Owl will make its debut on YouTube tonight and a large audience is expected.

If you haven’t tuned in to the owls yet, Christine Mertes of West Bend, WI, found a planter on her third-floor balcony at Rivershores mussed up one afternoon. Quite the unknown what critter would have climbed that high… she later found out it was a Great Horned owl and it was nesting in her flowerpot.

Click HERE to SUBSCRIBE to

FREE local news at
Washington County Insider on YouTube  

Even better news, there were two eggs.

Moczynski quickly purchased a couple of cameras and set up a watch party, starting at 7 p.m. so the community could keep an eye on the guests on her balcony. Some say, River and Oscar – the owl pair – have a ‘room with a view.’
cast iron
Photo courtesy Christine Moczynski
Moczynski started a page on social media, The Potted Owl. The page has grown from a mere 100 followers to over 1,000; everyone can share in the experience.

Neighbors in West Bend, Wi, have had a much-loved relationship with the owls which once nested in a vent in the old West Bend Brewery.

Click HERE to watch The Potted Owl on YouTube

Many are excited to have a front-row seat to the feathery family.  Stay tuned and ‘THANKS’ to Moczynski for sharing.

West Bend, WI – There’s nature going on along the Milwaukee River in West Bend, WI and it looks like the Great Horned Owls, that used to nest in the old West Bend Brewery, are back!
owl west

Above photo courtesy Christine Mertes.

Neighbors remember the saga of the Great Horned Owls that used to nest in the small vent hole on the side of the cream city brick building just north of Highway 33. There were yearly articles and a slew of photographers who would gather in the parking lot to document the birth and eventual flight of the owlets.

cast iron

owl and owlets

In 2020 there was the doomed adventure when the owlets took flight and landed in a nearby pine tree and accidentally got clipped by a live electrical wire.

Click HERE to SUBSCRIBE to

FREE local news at
Washington County Insider on YouTube  

Over the years, construction forced the owls to find a new home and they went a bit further south to Riverside Park in West Bend, WI…  but now it appears they’re back and nesting in a very unique spot, and not very far from their old home at the brewery.

According to Christine Moczynski a male and female Great Horned Owl have found a home in a flowerpot on her fourth-floor balcony.

Wendy Wendorf

“A wild Great Horned Owl just showed up on our balcony on March 12th and made her nest in a flowerpot! We are following her journey,” wrote Moczynski on social media.

Moczynski has named the mother owl River and determined the pair of owls are sitting on two eggs.

Click HERE to follow along

Moczynski placed a camera on the nest and captured some outstanding National-Geographic type footage of the pair during feeding and weathering the recent snowfall.

Former DNR warden Bill Mitchell has been following along and said it’s a very unique scenario. “I’ve never heard of Great Horned owls nesting in a flowerpot,” said Mitchell. “Never… and on someone’s patio.”

Mitchell said the owls seem pretty used to people, in that they’ve gravitated to a spot like this, but he said they are very safe.

cast iron

“Nobody is going to be able to get to them on that balcony,” he said. “She is fairly high up and they’re pretty secure from predators as well.”

Mitchell said their feeding source is the Milwaukee River and nearby trees provide a great view of the landscape. “In one of the videos you see they found a mouse,” he said.

Mertes said on social media, the owls are attracting a huge following. “I have to tell you…work is really getting in the way of owl watching,” she wrote. “We are so excited about this.”

Currently there are three cameras on the impromptu balcony air B&B.

mama owl

Mary Holleback is an educator at Riveredge Nature Center in Newburg.

“The Great Horns are the first ones to mate in Wisconsin and towards the end of the month the barred owls and screech owls will start nesting too. The Great Horns start early because it takes so long for their young to get mature enough to take off and get on their own before the end of summer. The owlets need to be self-sufficient before winter.”

Holleback said “usually the same adult pair come back to the same spot.”

“Say, last year they had a brood and if successful those young will fledge and they will disperse; they won’t go too far but the young don’t usually take the nest site from the adults,” said Holleback. “If the adults were not successful and the young died or froze to death then they usually look for another location. The whole name of the game is to reproduce and make more offspring for the next generation.”

The timeline on the owls from past nesting experience – shows them occupying a nest in early March and the owlets hatching shortly thereafter. Stay tuned!

Below is a story about the West Bend Brewery owls from 2022.

April 20, 2022 – West Bend, WI – It was January 2021 when the fate of the old West Bend Brewery was sealed as someone covered the cubby hole on the south side of the building that for years served as a nesting box for a Great Horned owl. Neighbors, who wrapped their arms around the annual owl family, mourned the loss of the experience… however….

Follow the Milwaukee River to the south and you may just find an owl family or two sitting in the treetops.

owl

Fair Park

Click HERE to SUBSCRIBE to FREE local news at

Washington County Insider on YouTube  

We really have no idea if it is the same nesting pair that returned annually to the old Brewery… but it is highly possible. The mother owl has a wingspan over 6-feet; she can easily be seen from a distant parking lot.

owl

Owl River
Owlet spotted along the Milwaukee River

This year there are two owlets; they just took flight earlier this week.

If you can’t find them staring down at you from above, walk around the base of the trees to see if you can discover remnants from some of their feasts. The Milwaukee River makes for great hunting territory along with open fields where they can snatch a varmint or two.

A successful relocation of the owl nests may mean a better chance at survival since there are no powerlines in the vicinity. It was May 2020 when the young owls took flight to a nearby pine tree and clipped the electrical wire with their wings. A crew from We Energies responded to a call from Bill Mitchell with the DNR. We Energies topped the trees and wrapped some insulation around the wires.

Have you found any signs of Great Horned owls in your community?

Wendy Wendorf

Leave a Reply

Work or the content on WashingtonCountyInsider.com cannot be downloaded, printed, or copied. The work or content on WashingtonCountyInsider.com prohibits the end user to download, print, or otherwise distribute copies.

Subscribe

FREE local news at Washington County Insider on YouTube

Related Articles