Many kinds of birds make long journeys every year, flying north in the spring and then south for the winter — but one little bird had an interesting stop along her way, and she has gone viral for it.
On Nov. 16, the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, got a call asking if it would accept an owl that the caller’s husband had found in a tree.
“I asked where her husband was when he found the owl,” the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center shared on Facebook. “She said he works for the company that transports and secures the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.”
Somehow, the small raptor had made it from Oneonta, where the tree was originally located, to New York City’s Rockefeller Center. Thankfully, someone had spotted it and kept it safe until it was able to get to the wildlife center.
“Once secured, I peaked in the box and saw this little face looking up at me,” the center’s post continued. “He/she was a little Saw-whet owl, the smallest owls we have in the northeast. All baby owls are born in the spring so the idea that there was a baby owl in November didn’t make sense.”
“Back at Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, we’ve given him fluids and are feeding him all the mice he will eat. It had been three days since he ate or drank anything.”
“So far so good, his eyes are bright and seems relatively in good condition with all he’s been through. Once he checks in with the vet and gets a clean bill of health, he’ll be released to continue on his wild and wonderful journey.”
The little owl turned out to be a female and was dubbed “Rockefeller” for obvious reasons — “Rocky” for short.
Many people chimed in with their well-intentioned advice, but the wildlife center continued to work with avian specialists to determine how Rocky was doing and where she should be released to best continue her migration.
By Tuesday, she was ready to be released again. The bird had eaten her fill, gotten a clean bill of health and rested after her adventure, and the wildlife center made sure to find the perfect spot to release her.
“Rocky will continue on her migratory journey south today at dusk,” the center shared. “The release will happen at sunset so that she can find safe cover by nightfall.”
“We have found just the right quiet cluster of conifers to give her the safety she needs. We can’t wait to share the footage with everyone, so we can all celebrate Rocky’s return to nature together.”
Rockefeller certainly got to experience a journey that not many other owls get to — and thanks to the kindness of the humans she bumped into, she was able to continue on her way even stronger than she was before.
“Our hearts go out to all those ‘behind the scenes’ workers,” the center wrote in its initial post. “Great job and thanks for saving ‘Rockefeller’!”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.