A walleye, an eagle, a beaver... oh my!
If you've walked down 1st Avenue South during the past few weeks, you've likely noticed the towering eagle and prominently perched beaver looking down at you.
The next time you see the rooftop pair, wave, and take the time to greet "Chip the Beaver" and "Edward III." It's only a matter of time until they will be able to return your greeting.
The animal woodcarvings will soon be given voices, thanks to the ingenuity of Perham business owner Brian Osterday. Osterday runs the Wildlife Minnesota store that Chip and Edward III sit atop of.
He's in the process of hooking up a voice effects processor which will allow him to talk on behalf of his woodland friends. Osterday plans to hide a speaker by the beaver. He will then be able to talk into a microphone from the back of his shop and project his voice from his store's awning.
"Edward the Eagle will have more of a sophisticated attitude...like he's the king," explains Osterday. He says Chip the Beaver will be more outspoken in nature, with a bigger mouth.
When the critters aren't busy talking to people passing by on the street, Osterday will use the sound set-up to advertise store specials and play 70s and 80s rock music by the Rode Dawgz Band.
The chainsaw carving animals were created by Scott's Bears Roots out of Parkers Prairie. Osterday sells the carvings inside his shop, along with a large variety of other Minnesota made products. Osterday also sells prints of his own wildlife photography. Also based at the Perham shop is Pam Edstrom who runs Peter Paul Fur.
Getting the beaver and eagle up on the roof of his shop was quite the task for Osterday, who says he decided to add the interactive animals to help bring some creativity to the Perham business corridor.
"When you drive down the street and see an eagle on top of the roof with a nest, people do a double take," he says.
Even just the process of getting Edward III on top of the large nest resulted in Osterday getting quite a few stares. To make the nest, he first had to pull a giant tree root out of the ground. The next step was to clean off the root with a pressure washer.
"Everyone looked at me like 'What in the heck is this guy pressure washing a root for?'" Osterday recalls. In the near future, two baby eagles will join Edward III in the root nest.
Believe it or not, that's not where Osterday's storefront plans end. He eventually hopes to include Wally the Walleye as another talking counterpart in his rooftop display. The walleye is located right next to Edward III. Osterday sees the walleye as being the funny one of the bunch.
Then there's the water element Osterday installed for the beaver. He drilled a hole by the beaver's mouth, and turned the beaver into a fountain of sorts. Osterday has it rigged so water shoots out of the beaver's mouth and lands on the street in front of the store.
Osterday says he envisions kids gathering under the falling water, cooling off when it gets really hot in the summer. He continues, "I picture kids standing there with a popsicle and the beaver saying, 'Can I have that stick when you're done?'"