Owl found inside Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in New York returns to wild

The tiny Saw-whet owl was named Rockefeller after it was found by a worker setting up the holiday tree at Manhattan’s Rockefeller Center. The owl was apparently trapped in the 71-foot-tall (22-meter-tall) Norway spruce when it was cut down 170 miles (275 kilometers) north, in upstate New York on November 12.

The female owl, initially thought to be male, was uninjured but hadn’t eaten for at least three days when she was discovered and sent to Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in the Hudson Valley town of Saugerties. There, a rehabilitator nursed her back to health for a week with plenty of mice before Rocky was cleared to continue her migratory journey south.

On Tuesday evening, rehabilitator Ellen Kalish held the winsome raptor aloft in a field against a backdrop of rounded mountains. In a video posted on Ravensbeard’s Facebook page, Rocky sits quietly on Kalish’s fingers before winging her way over to a nearby grove of pines.

“She is a tough little bird and we’re happy to see her back in her natural habitat,” the center wrote on Facebook. “We are sure that Rocky will feel your love and support through her journey south.”

The video prompted people to share all sorts of comments. “Wonderful video! Thank you for taking such good care of Rocky (and all the birds) and for sharing this story with the world!” wrote a Facebook user. “This made me tear up a little, in a good way! Happy life Rocky,” said another. “That was so moving.. thank you for sharing and for your dedication to these wild souls,” expressed a third.

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