A tiny owl who traveled 170 miles from its home in Oneonta to New York City in the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is in "good condition" after being discovered and transported to a wildlife rehabilitation facility, according to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center. Tuesday, the rehab center shared the story of the adult male Saw-whet owl lovingly named Rockefeller to Facebook after he was found in the branches of the 75-foot Norway Spruce last Thursday.
After the tree made its way to NYC, a worker who helped move it to the final location noticed the owl, calling his wife about the little bird. "Yesterday morning, I received a phone call from someone who asked if we take in owls for rehabilitation. I replied, 'yes we do,' there was silence for a moment and she said 'OK, I'll call back when my husband comes home, he’s got the baby owl in a box tucked in for the long ride,' " the center shared on Facebook.
Once the owl was identified and named by the center, he has been given fluids and "all the mice he will eat" while recovering. "It had been three days since he ate or drank anything," the center said. "So far so good, his eyes are bright and seems relatively in good condition with all he’s been through." After Rockefeller is given a "clean bill of health" during a check-up with the vet, he will be released on the wildlife center grounds, as the rescuers determined it would be "more traumatic to transport him yet again."
Ellen Kalish, the director and founder of the wildlife center, told NBC New York Wednesday that this was a first for the facility, which guesses that the owl must have gotten stuck in the tree when the branches were tied up for transporting it to the Big Apple. "With all the commotion, I highly doubt that it flew in," she told the local station. "What I suspect was that it was in the tree when they cut it down and it probably got trapped when they wrapped the tree in some of the branches. It was there for I think what was a three-day journey to New York City and wasn’t found until they released the branches." Rockefeller is one "resilient" and lucky bird, she continued, noting how much of a "miracle" it was he "wasn't crunched" during the journey. Safe travels, Rockefeller!