Adorable Owl Catches a Ride to NYC on Rockefeller Christmas Tree

Workers who transport and secure the Christmas tree for Rockefeller Center found an early present when unloading the 75-foot Norway Spruce on Saturday morning—an owl.

Baby Owl
A young owl, similar to one found in New York's Rockefeller Christmas tree. Getty

Quickly named—what else?—Rockefeller, the cute little owl was nestled inside the tree and is believed to have made the long ride from Oneonta in upstate New York to Manhattan, a journey of roughly four hours (without stops). The small bird is quickly becoming a social media star due to his unusual story, although he was soon ushered out of the bright lights of the big city and over to a wildlife rehabilitation center. This move is probably for the better, since his nocturnal vision isn't really equipped for the environment of midtown Manhattan.

He's currently at Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, a little closer to his original home. On Instagram, Ravensbeard posted about the owl coming to the center. little saw-whet owl, which are the smallest owls in the northeast. The facility also reported that despite the owl's diminutive stature, he's not a baby. Saw-whet owls are born in the spring—they're just naturally that small.

One of the first people to share Rockefeller the Owl's story on social media was Allison Esposito Medina, the CEO and Founder of Tech Ladies, a community that connects women to the best jobs and opportunities in tech.

They found a small owl inside of this year’s Rockefeller Christmas tree, he hitched a ride all the way to NYC and is now being treated and cared for at a wildlife rehab facility.

— Allison Esposito Medina (@techladyallison) November 18, 2020

Her post inspired many direct replies, here are a couple:

I'm gonna need someone to turn this into a heartwarming children's book IMMEDIATELY. The little owl's big city Christmas adventure.

— Kelly Glista-Anderson (@kmglista) November 18, 2020


The little owl found in the quirky Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree!

And man, does he look irked.

H/T @thehighsign

— Joanne Freeman (@jbf1755) November 18, 2020

Bird Watching Magazine should probably follow up with a long feature after it noticed the story today...

Workers setting up this year’s #ChristmasTree at Rockefeller Center in New York City got quite a surprise when they discovered a small owl among the 75-foot Norway spruce’s branches. The Northern Saw-whet Owl is now in the care of wildlife rehabbers.

— BirdWatchingMagazine (@BirdWatchDaily) November 18, 2020

While Rockefeller was uprooted, this writer noticed he at least got a nice sweater for his troubles.

Poor owl friend! One minute you're hanging out in your safe comfy home, the next minute you're a Christmas decoration. At least he has a cozy sweater!

Hey @jeffiel, owl adventures!

— H. Poteat (@NSQE) November 18, 2020

Sweater or not, a lot of Twitter users noted Rockefeller looked quite peeved in the pictures. But wouldn't anyone who was stuck on the back of a flat-bed truck for 170 miles in November?

Little Rockefeller looks pissed. Y’all the owl is all of us

— LilEsBella 💅🏽 (@LilEsBella) November 18, 2020

At Ravensbeard, Rockefeller received fluids and has been fed "all the mice he will eat" since he hadn't eaten or drank anything for about three days prior. The center went on to report "his eyes are bright," and that he "seems relatively in good condition with all he's been through."

After a vet clears him, he'll be released into the wild and be free once again. This time, he will hopefully choose a more permanent tree to call home.

Ravensbeard Wildlife Center is asking for donations to care for Rockefeller and other animal programs.

Below is the original Instagram post from Ravensbeard about Rockefeller, including a slideshow of photos.