The trees that make their way to Rockefeller Center for Christmas don't just hold big, fancy ornaments and bright, twinkly lights. They might carry some additional, unintended baggage. That's exactly what happened this year to the tree that came from Oneonta, NY.

The Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, NY received a phone call Tuesday afternoon regarding an owl that needed to be rehabilitated. After confirming that it was something that they could help with, the woman on the phone responded with “OK, I'll call back when my husband comes home, he’s got the baby owl in a box tucked in for the long ride.”

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What exactly does "long ride" mean and where was the owl coming from?

This woman's husband worked for the company that transports and secures the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Ellen from the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center met the family half way between their locations to retrieve the owl. Upon meeting, Ellen realized that the owl wasn't exactly a "baby."

Credit: Rockefeller Center, Ravensbeard Wildlife Center

"Once secured, I peaked in the box and saw this little face looking up at me. He 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."

The owl was brought back to Ravensbeard and has been given fluids and "all the mice he will eat." According to Ellen, it had been at least three days since the owl had eaten or drank anything.

How is the little bird, deemed the name, Rockefeller, doing?

Credit: Rockefeller Center, Ravensbeard Wildlife Center

"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," says Ellen in the Ravensbeard Facebook post.

Many on Facebook have been asking the question if Rockefeller will be brought back home to the Oneonta area once cleared to be released.

"It is not necessary for the owl to be returned to where are came from. This owl is a full grown adult and is very capable of finding new territory. We believe it would be even more traumatic to transport him yet again when he can be safely released here on the grounds of Ravensbeard Wildlife Center where there are acres of trees to choose from."

Credit: Rockefeller Center, Ravensbeard Wildlife Center

The Ravensbeard Wildlife Center is a nonprofit organization and is donation based. If you'd like to donate to show your support of what they're doing to help Rockefeller, you can do so by visiting

We'll keep you posted about his journey.

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