Owl found in Rockefeller Christmas tree returned to the wild

NEW YORK — A tiny owl found in the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center was released back into the wild on Tuesday.

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Rockefeller, or Rocky, the tiny, appropriately named, saw-whet owl found in the 75-foot-tall Norway spruce as it was unfurled was nursed back to health and medically cleared to be returned to her natural habitat.

>> Tiny owl found in Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree

“Rocky’s release was a success,” the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, where she was cared for, said on social media. “She is a tough little bird and we’re happy to see her back in her natural habitat.”

Rocky spent days at the wildlife center, where she was given fluids and a steady diet of mice. She was initially believed to be a male because of her weight, but it was later determined she was an undersized female, WNBC reported.

>> Tiny owl found in Rockefeller Center’s Christmas tree

Video of the release shows Ellen Kalish, founder of the wildlife center, remove Rocky from her carrier. Kalish pets the back of the bird’s head. The owl remains perched on Kalish’s outstretched arm before flying to a nearby branch. Rocky hops to another branch before flying away.

>> Photos: Rockefeller Center Christmas tree arrives in New York

“We are sure that Rocky will feel your love and support through her journey south,” rescuers said.

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