Owl found in Rockefeller Christmas tree returned to the wild

Owl found in Christmas tree at Rockefeller center returned to the wild

NEW YORK — A tiny owl found in the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center was released back into the wild on Tuesday.

Rockefeller, or Rocky, the tiny, appropriately named, saw-whet owl found in the 75-foot-tall Norway spruce as it was unfurled was nursed back to health and medically cleared to be returned to her natural habitat.

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“Rocky’s release was a success,” the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, where she was cared for, said on social media. “She is a tough little bird and we’re happy to see her back in her natural habitat.”

Rocky spent days at the wildlife center, where she was given fluids and a steady diet of mice. She was initially believed to be a male because of her weight, but it was later determined she was an undersized female, WNBC reported.

Video of the release shows Ellen Kalish, founder of the wildlife center, remove Rocky from her carrier. Kalish pets the back of the bird’s head. The owl remains perched on Kalish’s outstretched arm before flying to a nearby branch. Rocky hops to another branch before flying away.

“We are sure that Rocky will feel your love and support through her journey south,” rescuers said.

In this photo provided by the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, Ravensbeard Wildlife Center Director and founder Ellen Kalish holds a Saw-whet owl at their facility in Saugerties, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. A worker helping to get the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City found the tiny owl among the tree's massive branches on Monday, Nov. 16. Now named Rockefeller, the owl was brought to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center for care. (Lindsay Possumato/Ravensbeard Wildlife Center via AP)
In this photo provided by the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, Ravensbeard Wildlife Center Director and founder Ellen Kalish holds a Saw-whet owl at their facility in Saugerties, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. A worker helping to get the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City found the tiny owl among the tree's massive branches on Monday, Nov. 16. Now named Rockefeller, the owl was brought to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center for care. (Lindsay Possumato/Ravensbeard Wildlife Center via AP) (Lindsay Possumato/AP)