Little owl found in branches of New York’s Rockefeller Christmas tree

It was not really a partridge in a pear tree, but a worker who helped set up the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree found a holiday surprise – a small owl among the massive branches.

The little bird, now named after Rockefeller, was discovered on Monday, dehydrated and hungry, but otherwise unharmed, said Ellen Kalish, director and founder of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, where the bird was taken.

Kalish said the bird is an adult male barn owl, one of the smallest owls. It was taken to a veterinarian on Wednesday and given a clean health description.

“He’s had a buffet with all you can eat mice, so he’s ready to go,” she said.

She said the plan was to release the owl into the wild this weekend.

The tree, a 75-foot (23-meter) spruce, had been brought to Manhattan on Saturday from Oneonta, New York, in the central part of the state. The tree is put in place and then decorated for a few weeks before being lit for the public in early December.