Adorable Owl Stows Away in Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

Rocky’s wild tale is spreading holiday cheer.

Dec 4, 2020


Adorable Owl Stows Away in Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree | Rocky’s wild tale is spreading holiday cheer.

One of the traditional celebrations of the holiday season is the annual tree-lighting ceremony of the magnificent Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City. A 75-foot tall spruce tree has adorned the center every December since 1933, and is so loved by Americans, that around 125 million people flock to see the tree each year. 

This year’s tree lighting ceremony was held on December 2, with hundreds of millions of people watching the live broadcast. However, this tree was carrying a special surprise visitor when it arrived in New York City!

It was a huge shock when an employee setting up the tree found a small owl hiding in the branches, according to NBC. The saw-whet owl was gently removed and soon transported to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Hudson Valley, New York to be tested and treated. Rocky, his very appropriate nickname, was not injured, but was extremely hungry.

Ellen Kalish, founder of the wildlife center, told NBC that the owl “was there for [what] I think was a three-day journey to New York City and wasn’t found until they released the branches.”

According to CBS News, Rocky’s x-rays were clear and he fed as many mice as he wanted. After spending a few days recovering and regaining his strength, Rocky was moved to an outdoor location to acclimate to the weather. 

Inspired by Rocky’s adventures, over $12,000 has been donated, according to CBS News. The donations collected will support their efforts in caring for other displaced or injured birds. Rocky’s surprise appearance ushered in the holiday season with extra cheer and hope, and this all-wise owl even assisted in increasing awareness about the importance of helping wild birds.

Rocky was recently released in a forest in upstate New York. He is now flying free, and may even have found a cozy, warm home in a new spruce. If he wants to rejoin the festivities in Manhattan, a post from the Rockefeller Center says warmly, “Don’t worry Rockefeller, you’ll always have VIP access to this tree.” This is the most wonderful time of year!

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Jackie Schindler teaches EFL to students between the ages of 5-15. She is passionate about making English relevant, fun and memorable. She always tries to look on the bright side in every situation. She is an avid reader, writer, traveler and always on the hunt for the best iced coffee.