The Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree was cut down 170 miles north of New York City, and so Rocky endured quite the trip before being discovered by one of the tree transportation crew.
According to National Geographic, the crew were very distressed by the discovery of the bird, as they had made sure to check the tree carefully for wildlife before felling. However, as owls are nocturnal it is thought Rocky could have been hiding in a cavity and being so tiny was easily missed. There are rules in some parts of the United States that require all trees planned for exportation to be shaken for 15 seconds, and Christmas tree specialist, Chal Lundgren of Oregon State University, suggests the discovery of Rocky is ‘a very one-off experience.’ It is hoped that this advice is a welcome statement for anyone concerned about wildlife like Rocky over the Christmas period of tree transportation.
Rocky (short for Rockefeller) a female Saw-whet owl, was malnourished and dehydrated and so had been recovering at the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center before being released on Tuesday.
You can watch Rocky’s release here!