A tiny owl was saved and is now recovering after it was found among the massive branches of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.
Ellen Kalish of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center is used to getting calls about taking in undomesticated animals, but her 20 years of experience did not prepare her for what she’s about to hear.
The center, based in Saugerties, New York, received a call on Monday morning from a woman who said her husband discovered the owl while working for the company who transported the iconic tree.
“I’ve never heard a story like that,” Kalish said.
The rescued owl, now called Rockefeller, became the silver lining of this year’s version of the Christmas tree as the world called its bedraggled branches and thin needles a “metaphor for 2020.”
“I thought it was such a heartwarming Christmas story, that there was this secret in the Christmas tree,” said Kalish.
The representatives for Rockefeller defended that while they “inspect each branch of the tree individually before it’s wrapped, birds sometimes can find their way into it on the journey.”
It is estimated that the poor bird had gone an estimated three days without food or water before it was found.
“He’s had a buffet of all-you-can-eat mice, so he’s ready to go,” Kalish said.
Rockefeller is an adult male Saw-whet owl, known for being one of the tiniest of owls.
He had been taken to a veterinarian on Wednesday and is planned to be released back to the wild this weekend.
Kalish theorizes that the bird could have flocked to the tree to hide in a cavity because he was injured and got trapped later.
“There is no proof,” she said.
“He could have flown in from Central Park, but I don’t believe that’s true. That would be the last place he would want to go in the middle of chaos and construction. Why would he pick that tree if he had a choice not to? He’s smart and he wouldn’t do that.”
“I will wish him a very long and happy life — something we all strive for,” she added.
“For me, it’s the Christmas miracle of 2020. It’s a pretty great story. I was honored to be of service.”