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Can I get a w(h)oot? Minnesota hosts international owl fest

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The southeastern Minnesota town of Houston, population 979, is welcoming a parliament of up to 2,000 bird lovers Friday-Sunday for the annual International Festival of Owls.

The event marks a big weekend for owl fans, who gather for speeches, an owl hall-of-fame ceremony, photo lessons and live owl programs.

The festival is also a boon to local businesses in Houston, which is home to the International Owl Center, the La Crosse Tribune reports.

The 12th annual event is being launched this year with a fundraising effort to build a new owl center building.

How did this event land in southeastern Minnesota? Here's more about the festival's backstory and how it ended up in Houston – it starts with the tale of Alice, a rescued owlet that fell from a nest in 1997.

If you can't make it, here's a couple of owl livecams.

Also from the owl center, two videos:

Here's a Great Horned Owl named Rusty guarding his eggs:

In this clip, you can faintly hear the chittering of a hatching owlet, which has punctured its way to the air sac at the end of its egg, as its parents hoot in the background.

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