• The tree was cut down in Oneonta, New York, and was trucked to New York City
  • The owl belongs to the saw-whet species 
  • It will be released back to the wild once its health improves


New York City’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree came with a pleasant surprise this year -- an adorable owl among its branches.

The tiny saw-whet owl was discovered clinging for its life on the 75-foot-long Christmas tree that was cut down in Oneonta, New York, before being trucked 170 miles to the city. The feathered creature has been named "Rockefeller," and is currently recovering at a wildlife refuge, NBC reported

Ellen Kalish, director of Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, the facility where the bird was dropped off, said in a Facebook post Tuesday they were informed about the find by the wife of a worker who helped transport the Christmas tree.

Rockefeller was given fluids at the wildlife center along with "all the mice he will eat," the post said. According to the post, the owl hadn’t had anything to eat and drink during its three-day-long journey from Oneonta to New York City.

“It's amazing he didn't get crushed," Kalish said in the post.

The wildlife center said the bird will be taken to the vet and, once its health improves, it will be released back to the wild. “So far so good, his eyes are bright and seems relatively in good condition with all he’s been through,” said Kalish.

The saw-whet owl, native to North America, grows no more than five inches in length as an adult. It is considered to be the smallest owl species found in North America. The saw-whet owls are frequently mistaken for baby owls due to their tiny appearance and barely two to three ounces of weight.

"Our hearts go out to all those "behind the scenes" workers. Great job and thanks for saving "Rockefeller"!" the post read.

Last year, a Georgia family found an owl hiding in their Christmas tree. Katie Newman's 10-year-old daughter, India, first spotted the bird sitting on the 10-foot tall tree and mistook it for one of the owl ornaments the family used to decorate the spruce. They were, however, taken aback to learn it was a live owl hiding inside the tree for more than a week since its purchase, Associated Press had reported at that time. The family released the bird with the help of a nonprofit nature center.

eagle owl
An eagle owl fluffs out its feathers as it sits on one foot on a branch in its enclosure at the Grugapark in Essen March 26, 2014. Reuters/Ina Fassbender