The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree made its way to New York City this week, only, it appears it didn’t come alone.
Ravensbeard Bird Center in New York state shared the news on Tuesday that a tiny little owl hitchhiker took a ride from Oneonta, New York to the Big Apple along with the tree. (Seriously, children’s book authors, how did you not already think of this plotline?)
“Ravensbeard is excited to share a rare Holiday story with you,” the bird sanctuary wrote on Facebook. “Yesterday morning, I received a phone call from someone who asked if we take in owls for rehabilitation. I replied, ‘yes we do,’ there was silence for a moment and she said ‘OK, I'll call back when my husband comes home, he’s got the baby owl in a box tucked in for the long ride.’"
When the sanctuary worker asked the woman on the phone where her husband procured the bird, the woman explained that her husband works for the company that transports and secures the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.
“She lived about an hour south so we met in the middle to do the transfer,” the center wrote. “Once secured, I peaked in the box and saw this little face looking up at me. He/she was a little Saw-whet owl, the smallest owls we have in the northeast. All baby owls are born in the spring so the idea that there was a baby owl in November didn’t make sense.”
Once back at the wildlife center, the team gave the bird some fluids and fed him “all the mice he [would] eat.” According to the center, it had likely been about three days since he ate or drank anything.
“So far so good, his eyes are bright and seems relatively in good condition with all he’s been through,” the center explained. “Once he checks in with the vet and gets a clean bill of health, he’ll be released to continue on his wild and wonderful journey.”
As for a name, the team appropriately called him "Rockefeller.”
Of course, the center is now receiving plenty of global attention. If you happen to visit their page to learn more about the darling bird and feel as though you can give a little, it is currently soliciting donations so it can continue to care for Rockefeller and all his feathered friends.
Stacey Leasca is a journalist, photographer, and media professor. She cried writing this story because this owl is too damn cute. Send tips and follow her on Instagram now.
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