A snowy owl was pulled out of Duluth's Alakef Coffee roaster on Wednesday.
It's something no one expected to see after a long day of coffee roasting.
"I heard a little, scratching." A small noise coming from the inside of a cooling machine, caught the attention of Ezra Bennett as he started routine cleaning at Alakef Coffee Roasters.
"I didn't know what she was at first. I opened up the door, she almost flew out at me. She was very kind of dirty, kind of dusty, and very, very scared. I saw feathers and wings, and then a beak and eyes and--yes, there's an owl in my chaff collector."
Bennett, taken back by what he had discovered, quickly closed the machine door and told his workers to call Wildwoods.
"When I got a call saying, there's an owl stuck in our coffee equipment, I really kind of had a laugh about that," says Tara Smith, Animal Care Coordinator at Wildwoods Wildlife Rehabilitation center in Duluth.
The snowy owl is believed to have fallen down a smokestack that sits on the roof of Alakef.
Bennett describes the inside of the machine as a "lobster trap" that the bird fell down through and was unable to climb back up.
Wildwoods was able to send someone over to assist in rescuing the owl that was stuck in what they call a "coffee cyclone."
Smith says,"this beautiful white snowy owl was absolutely covered with this sheen of brown coffee."
After seeing the what Wildwoods believes to be a female owl covered in coffee grounds, Bennett decided to name her. "Mokka, M-O-K-K-A," after an ancient coffee trading seaport in Yemen.
Bennett says it is by far one of the craziest things in his 14 years as an employee at Alakef and Wildwood employees agree, it was wild.
"It was kind of an unusual circumstance. We usually don't get owls that are actually in buildings, in facilities," says Smith.
Representatives from the Minnesota DNR say this year could be an "eruption year" for snowy owls.
Minnesota DNR Assistant Area Wildlife Manager, Martha Minchak says, "the reason many of them or some of them are coming down is because they're starving."
Fifteen snowy owls have been reported to the DNR since the winter season began.
Minchak says, "advice for folks is to not approach them, let them rest, don't make them expend energy by trying to get away from you."
As for Bennett and the other roasters, they say, an adjustment to the smokestack may be in order. Bennett says, "we actually will probably wind up throwing a cap on the top of that thing."
Wildwoods says, Mokka was very playful and spunky as of Thursday morning and seems to be recovering from the incident.
She was sent down to Raptor Center in St. Paul for further examination.
Video credit: Jeff Harrison