A tiny Northern saw-whet owl, the smallest species of owl in the northeastern United States, is in animal rehab after being discovered hiding in the Christmas tree that was installed Saturday in Rockefeller Center in New York City.
The owl, which has since been named “Rockefeller,” was found inside the 75-foot Norway spruce tree after it had been cut down and hauled more than 170 miles from Oneonta, New York, to Midtown Manhattan.
They found a small owl inside of this year’s Rockefeller Christmas tree, he hitched a ride all the way to NYC and is now being treated and cared for at a wildlife rehab facility. pic.twitter.com/f4PkBm6MGo
— Allison Esposito Medina (@techladyallison) November 18, 2020
The Northern saw-whet owl, which often nests in tall conifers, averages only about 6.7-8.7 inches long and weighs on average approximately 2.8 ounces, making them easy prey for larger birds.
After Rockefeller had been rescued, the owl was taken to Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, which is more than 100 miles north of New York City in Saugerties, New York.
In a Tuesday Facebook post, the wildlife center wrote:
A Secret in the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
Ravensbeard is excited to share a rare Holiday story with you.
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.”
I asked where her husband was when he found the owl. She said he works for the company that transports and secures the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.
She lived about an hour south so we met in the middle to do the transfer. Once secured, I peaked [sic] in the box and saw this little face looking up at me. 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.
Back at Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, we’ve given him fluids and are feeding him all the mice he will eat. It had been three days since he ate or drank anything. So far so good, his eyes are bright and seems relatively in good condition with all he’s been through. 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.
Our hearts go out to all those “behind the scenes” workers. Great job and thanks for saving “Rockefeller”!
Despite the apparent happy ending for Rockefeller, the tree in which he once lived has seen better days. The towering spruce was widely ridiculed on social media Wednesday for its disheveled, flaccid appearance, after footage emerged depicting its installation at the iconic business complex on 5th Avenue.
“What is this, a joke? This is the Rockefeller Christmas tree for 2020. It depicts @NYCMayor’s city as it stands today: broken, empty, drained of its life, by failed leadership and incompetence,” wrote former New York Police Department Chief Bernard Kerik.
What is this, a joke? This is the Rockefeller Christmas tree for 2020. It depicts @NYCMayor‘s city as it stands today: broken, empty, drained of its life, by failed leadership and incompetence. pic.twitter.com/1S0qyIbmE1
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) November 18, 2020