“She said, ‘At the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center,'” Kalish, the center’s founder and director, told The Washington Post. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years and I’ve never heard such a story.”
The tale of the rescued owl – which, of course, has since been called “Rockefeller” – quickly became the silver lining of the rocky debut for this year’s version of the iconic Christmas tree. The 75-meter Norwegian spruce from Oneonta, New York, appeared on Saturday, looking worse for wear and tear, with some calling its wooden branches and thin needles a “metaphor for 2020”
Because the world was busy this weekend, making fun of the tree – which a Rockefeller Center spokesman told NBC’s Today show it would look better after unfolding after a long journey from the top of the country – a small passenger it was hidden in his limbs.
When the spruce was still horizontal at the beginning of the process, one of the workers untangling the branches noticed the creature buried at the base of the tree, Kalish said. The woman who called Kalish, who said her husband also worked for the company in charge of the task, told her that the man initially thought the owl could be injured because it was glued to the base of the tree.
Then one of the workers called his wife to tell her that he was taking an owl home, and asked her if she could find a place to help wild animals.
The predator, which most likely accompanied the tree on its 170-kilometer journey to Manhattan, is the smallest of its kind living in the northeast. So how did you end up in the tree?
Kalisz, 64, proposed several theories. He could have run to the tree to hide in a cavity because he was injured and later trapped, she said. Or maybe after the tree was loaded on a truck, the branches pressed it into the trunk. Or he was just too traumatized to move.
“There is no evidence,” Kalish said. “It could have flown in from Central Park, but I don’t think that’s true. This would be the last place he would like to go in the midst of chaos and construction. Why would he choose this tree if he had the choice not to do so? He is smart and would not do that. ”
After Kalish learned the whole owl story, she met the woman at a gas station between Sogrtis and New Palz, New York. At about 5:00 p.m. Monday, the woman handed her a cardboard box with the owl inside. Kalish was surprised by what she found.
“He looked up at me and I was relieved to see that he looked in relatively good shape,” Kalish said of their first meeting. “The fact that he traveled for a three-day trip or whatever and came in not terrible shape is impressive.
When Kalish returned Rockefeller to the Saugerties clinic, she said she gave him plenty of water and left two mice in the plastic pet carrier. They were gone the next morning.
On Wednesday, Rockefeller, who spends most of his time at the wildlife center, eating or sleeping, went to the vet for X-rays. He has no fractures or broken bones, Kalisz added. “It’s unrealistic,” Kalisz said.
Rockefeller is not expected to spend too long in the center, she said. She’s getting ready to let him go at dusk, when the owls usually wake up sometime this weekend. The launch will be quick and quiet, she said, bringing a camera to take him off.
“I will wish him a very long and happy life – something we all strive for,” Kalisz said. “For me, this is the Christmas miracle of 2020. It’s a pretty great story. It was an honor to be of service. ”
Travis Andrews contributed to this report.