News & Opinion | November 19, 2020 9:38 am

A Tiny Owl Got Stuck in (and Subsequently Rescued From) the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The bird is currently being treated at a wildlife refuge

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree
A 75-foot Christmas Tree from Oneonta is being installed at the Rockefeller Plaza. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Pacific Press/LightRocket via Ge

A small saw-whet owl is currently recovering at a wildlife refuge in New York after it was discovered in this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree by workers unloading and setting up the 75-foot spruce, the BBC reports.

The owl, which has naturally been named Rockefeller, went three days without food or water during the tree’s 170-mile journey from Oneonta, N.Y. to New York City. “It’s just a story out of a movie,” Ravensbeard Wildlife Center director Ellen Kalish, who is taking care of the bird, said. “It’s amazing he didn’t get crushed.”

Rockefeller was taken to the vet on Wednesday for a check-up and some x-rays, and he’s currently receiving fluids and “all the mice he will eat” at the wildlife center.

“So far, he’s pensive and cautious. Very alert, bright-eyed,” Kalish said. “And the cuteness factor is just off the charts.”

Though he’s tiny, the owl is a fully grown adult. Saw-whet owls are the smallest owls in the Northeast, typically only growing up to 8.3 inches tall.

Once he has a clean bill of health, Rockefeller will be released back into the wild. (As Kalish noted, “Our goal is to release any bird that can be released.”)

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