Rocky the Christmas Tree Stowaway Owl returns to the wild

SAUGERTIES, NY (AP) – Rocky the Underground Owl is back in the wild.

The tiny owl was named Rockefeller after it was found by a worker setting up the holiday tree on November 16 at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan. The owl was apparently trapped in the 75-foot-tall (23-meter-high) Norway spruce when it was shot 170 miles (275 kilometers) north in upstate New York, November 12.

The female owl, originally thought to be male, was uninjured but had not eaten for at least three days when it was discovered and sent to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in the town of Saugerties in the valley of the Hudson. There, a rehabilitator treated her for a week with lots of mice before Rocky was allowed to continue his migratory journey south.

On Tuesday evening, rehabilitator Ellen Kalish held the alluring raptor in a field against the backdrop of rounded mountains. In a video posted to Ravensbeard’s Facebook page, Rocky sits quietly on Kalish’s fingers before making his way to a nearby pine grove.

“She’s a tough little bird and we’re happy to see her again in her natural habitat,” the center wrote on Facebook. “We’re sure Rocky will feel your love and support throughout his journey south.”


This story has been corrected to show that the Rockefeller Christmas tree is 23 meters tall, not 22 meters tall.

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