Owl Rescued From Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree After Traveling 170 Miles

by Jennifer Shea

When the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree traveled from Oneonta, New York to Manhattan, it brought with it some surprising cargo. A tiny Saw-whet owl had stowed away in the branches of the tree, Vulture reports.

Eventually, the owl made his way to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York.

Owl in a Box

According to a Facebook post from the wildlife center, the little fellow appears to be quite young. A worker for the company that transports and secures the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree found the owl in the tree.

The worker’s wife called the wildlife center and told them he had the baby owl in a box for the long ride back home from Manhattan. So someone from the wildlife center met the couple to transfer the owl to their care.

“Once secured, I peaked in the box and saw this little face looking up at me,” the wildlife center staffer wrote on Facebook. Naturally, they named the little owl Rockefeller.

Back at the wildlife center, the Christmas tree’s tiny stowaway received fluids and “all the mice he will eat.” The owl had gone without food for three days while the tree made its journey.

The wildlife center reports that Rockefeller’s eyes are bright and he’s in good condition after his ordeal.

The Smallest Owls

The next step is to get him checked out by a vet. Once he has a clean bill of health, the wildlife center will release him back into the wild.

Saw-whet owls are the smallest type of owl found in the northeastern U.S., and among the smallest owls in North America. According to Audubon, they like to hang out in pine forests and spruce-fir areas. 

The owls will often sit still to escape attention when humans approach. They are nocturnal and spend the daytime hours roosting in trees – much like the one now sitting in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza.