Hoot, hoot, hoot! Owl in Rockefeller Center tree

NEW YORK (AP) — It wasn’t quite a partridge in a pear tree, but a worker helping set up the Rockefeller Center tree found a holiday surprise — a tiny owl among the massive branches.

The little bird, now named what else but Rockefeller, was discovered on Monday, dehydrated and hungry, but otherwise unharmed, said Director and founder Ellen Kalish of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, where the bird was taken.

Kalish said the bird is an adult male Saw-whet owl, one of the tiniest owls. It was taken to a veterinarian on Wednesday and got a clean bill of health. “He’s had a buffet of all-you-can-eat mice, so he’s ready to go,” she said. She said the plan was to release the owl back to the wild this weekend.

The tree, a 23-metre Norway spruce, had been brought to Manhattan on Saturday from Oneonta, New York, in the central part of the state.

The tree is put in place and then decorated over some weeks before being lit for the public in early December.

Ravensbeard Director and founder Ellen Kalish holds a Saw-whet owl at the centre in Saugerties, New York. PHOTO: AP