A tiny owl that was discovered in the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree after the massive tree reached New York City is in "good condition" after being transported to a wildlife rehabilitation facility, according to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center.
On Tuesday, the rehab center in Saugerties, New York shared on Facebook the story of the small bird, who was found in the branches of the 75-foot Norway Spruce last Thursday.
After the tree was chopped down in Oneonta, about 170 miles from New York City, and transported to the Big Apple, a worker who helped to move the tree to its final famous location, noticed the owl and called his wife about his discovery.
"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.
The owl was transferred to the wildlife center where it was determined to be an adult male Saw-whet owl, the smallest variety of owl in the northeast United States, according to the center.
"All baby owls are born in the spring so the idea that there was a baby owl in November didn’t make sense," the center noted.
The owl, who the center affectionately named "Rockefeller," is now recovering and being given fluids and "all the mice he will eat."
"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."
Once the owl "gets a clean bill of health" and checks in with the vet, he will be released on the grounds of the wildlife center as the facility said it would be "more traumatic to transport him yet again."
Helen Kalish, the director and founder of the wildlife center, told NBC New York that the facility had "never seen anything like this."
As to how the owl got into the famed tree, Kalish guesses he was stuck when the branches were tied together for transport.
"With all the commotion, I highly doubt that it flew in," she explained. "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."
She added that it was a "miracle" that the owl "wasn't crunched" during the harrowing journey.
"They're very resilient," she said.
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