Tiny owl found in Rockefeller Christmas tree

A 75-foot Norway spruce arrived in Rockefeller Center for the Christmas holiday.

As the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was prepped for display in New York City, a tiny owl was found inside.

According to a Tuesday Facebook post from Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, a woman called and asked the organization they take in owls for rehab. When a representative from the group said they did, she said she’d check with her husband and call back.

It turns out, the woman’s husband worked for the company that transported the Rockefeller Christmas tree. It took two days to get the tree from its roots in Oneonta in central New York to the city.

The woman had to meet workers from the Saugerties, New York, nonprofit halfway.

“Once secured, I peaked in the box and saw this little face looking up at me,” the Ravensbeard post said. “He/she was a little Saw-whet owl, the smallest owls we have in the northeast. All baby owls are born in the spring so the idea that there was a baby owl in November didn’t make sense.”

The owl, the organization said, was an adult. It was taken to the wildlife center and given fluids and mice to eat since it had been three days since the bird last ate or drank, according to the post.

“So far so good, his eyes are bright and seems relatively in good condition with all he’s been through,” the post read. “Once he checks in with the vet and gets a clean bill of health, he’ll be released to continue on his wild and wonderful journey.”

As for concerns about the owl being returned to its home in Oneota, the organization said northern saw-whet owls find new mates annually and “are resilient in finding safe places.”

“This owl is a full grown adult and is very capable of finding new territory,” the comment on the post said. “We believe it would be even more traumatic to transport him yet again when he can be safely released here on the grounds of Ravensbeard Wildlife Center where there are acres of trees to choose from.”

Ravensbeard said the saw-whet owl population is on the decline, however, and recommended those with interest in them research how to make owl boxes, which will give them a safe space to live.

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