Rockefeller the owl returns to natural habitat after Christmas tree ride to NYC

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In this photo provided by the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, Ravensbeard Wildlife Center Director and founder Ellen Kalish holds a Saw-whet owl at their facility in Saugerties, N.Y., Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. A worker helping to get the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree in New York City found the tiny owl among the tree’s massive branches on Monday, Nov. 16. Now named Rockefeller, the owl was brought to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center for care. (Lindsay Possumato/Ravensbeard Wildlife Center via AP)

NEW YORK (NBC) – A tiny owl that was found in the branches of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has returned home for the holidays.

Ravensbeard Wildlife Center on Tuesday released the adult Saw-whet owl, dubbed Rockefeller or Rocky, to conifer forest in Upstate New York after veterinarians spent days taking care of the dehydrated and hungry creature. The Hudson Valley sanctuary initially said Rocky was a male owl because it weighed less than a typical female, but actually, the owl was an underweight female.

“When we picked Rocky up she was struggling,” Ravensbeard Wildlife Center Director and Founder Ellen Kalish said in a news release. “We believe it had been about three days since she ate or drank anything.”

Caretakers gave the owl fluids and fed her all the mice she could eat after it was discovered last week by a worker setting up the Christmas tree in Manhattan, Kalish said.

“It’s almost as if Rocky’s tenacity represents the strength that all of us have been trying to exhibit throughout this difficult year,” she added.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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