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Tiny owl discovered inside Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree after hitching 170-mile ride to New York


he annual installing of the Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree is usually a head-turning event.

But this year’s New York tradition packed an extra-special holiday surprise – when a tiny owl was discovered among its massive branches. 

The little bird, now named what else but Rockefeller, was discovered by a worker helping to set up the tree in Manhattan on Monday, dehydrated and hungry, but otherwise unharmed.

Ellen Kalish, director and founder of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, where the bird was taken, said the bird is an adult male Saw-whet owl, one of the tiniest owls.

It was taken to a veterinarian on Wednesday and got a clean bill of health. 


The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was erected with the help of a crane on Saturday

/ AP )

“He’s had a buffet of all-you-can-eat mice, so he’s ready to go,” she said. 

She said the plan was to release the owl back to the wild this weekend. 

The tree, a 75-foot (23-meter) Norway spruce, had been brought to Manhattan on Saturday from Oneonta, New York, in the central part of the state, a 170-mile journey. The tree is put in place and then decorated over some weeks before being lit for the public in early December.