The stowaway bird, now aptly dubbed "Rockefeller," was found unharmed.

By Nashia Baker
Updated November 19, 2020

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is something Americans look forward to every year, and its lighting marks the official start of the holiday season to many across the country. This year's tree is making headlines for a variety of reasons (including the fact that it's extremely sparse in some areas), but one reason is far more adorable than the rest: A tiny owl was found inside the tree's branches. According to Ellen Kalish, the director and founder of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, the bird was found deep in the tree, the Associated Press reported. Apparently, the adult male Saw-whet owl—now fittingly known as "Rockefeller"—stowed away in tree as it was transported from upstate New York to the heart of the city.

While "Rockfeller" was dehydrated and hungry when discovered in the tree, the owl was unharmed and taken straight to a veterinarian. "He's had a buffet of all-you-can-eat mice, so he's ready to go," Kalish said. The owl will be released back into the wild this weekend.

This year's tree—which is of the Norway Spruce variety—arrived on November 14 from Oneonta, New York, Travel + Leisure previously reported. This actually marks the second out of five years that the holiday tree came from Oneonta. Standing at 75 feet tall and weighing almost 11 tons, Al Dick, the owner of Daddy Al's General Store in Oneonta, donated the tree for the Rockefeller Center.

Per generations of tradition, the tree will soon be dressed up with holiday décor and bright lights in the plaza (the lighting ceremony slated to take place in early December), and it will stay in its New York City home until early 2021. After the holidays are over, the tree will be donated to charity for its lumber.


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