Owl found in Rockefeller Center Christmas tree could take flight soon

NEW YORK -- A tiny owl that was found dehydrated and hungry in the branches of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is eating its way back to good health and is set to be released back into the wild soon.

The adult male Saw-whet owl was dubbed Rockefeller after it was discovered Monday by a worker setting up the towering holiday tree in Manhattan. The Norway spruce was cut down 170 miles (275 kilometers) northwest in upstate New York and brought to Manhattan on Saturday.

The bird was taken to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in the Hudson Valley, where it is dining on mice in preparation for a return to the wild. The plan was to release the bird back into the wild over the weekend, but by Monday morning the center had not confirmed if the bird had been released yet.



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The little owl has since been appropriately renamed Rockefeller as it receives the TLC needed to recover.



"I just want to make sure he's well-fed before he goes," Director Ellen Kalish told the Daily Freeman on Thursday. "He was a little on the thin side when he came in. He probably hadn't eaten in a number of days. So I just want to make sure that he's at his best weight and health, and then he goes."

Kalish said the owl is in "great condition" with no bone fractures apparent after an X-ray. She plans to release the owl from the center's location in Saugerties, New York.
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