Rocky the Christmas tree abandoned owl returns to the wilderness

SAUGERTIES, NY (AP) – The Rocky Owl Owl is back in the wilderness.

The tiny sawtooth owl was named Rockefeller after a worker found the festive tree on Nov. 16 at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. The owl was apparently trapped in a 75-meter-high (23-meter-high) Norwegian spruce when it was cut down on November 12 in 170 miles (275 kilometers) north of New York State, 275 kilometers north.

The female owl, initially thought to be male, was not injured, but had not eaten for at least three days when it was discovered and sent to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, Hugson Valley. There, a rehabilitator took care of his health for a week, with plenty of mice, before Rocky was cleaned up to continue his journey south.

On Tuesday night, rehabilitator Ellen Kalish held the winning raptor high in the field against the backdrop of the rounded mountains. In a video posted on Ravensbeard’s Facebook page, Rocky sits quietly on Kalish’s fingers before soaring towards the nearby pine forest.

“It’s a tough little bird and we’re glad to see it in its natural habitat,” the center wrote on Facebook. “We are sure you will feel his love and support on Rocky’s journey south.


This story has been corrected to make the Rockefeller Christmas tree 23 feet high, not 22 feet high.