Owl in Rockefeller Centre tree to take flight soon

SAUGERTIES, NEW YORK (AP) – A tiny owl that was found dehydrated and hungry in the branches of the Rockefeller Centre Christmas tree is eating its way back to good health and was set to be released back into the wild yesterday.

The adult male Saw-whet owl was dubbed Rockefeller after it was discovered on Monday by a worker setting up the towering holiday tree in Manhattan. The Norway spruce was cut down 170 miles northwest in upstate New York and brought to Manhattan yesterday. The bird was taken to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Centre in the Hudson Valley, where it is dining on mice in preparation for a return to the wild, tentatively before dusk Saturday.

“I just want to make sure he’s well-fed before he goes,” Director Ellen Kalish told the Daily Freeman on Thursday. “He was a little on the thin side when he came in. He probably hadn’t eaten in a number of days. So I just want to make sure that he’s at his best weight and health, and then he goes.”

The Saw-whet owl. PHOTO: AP