The story of the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was twisted as a stunning story, more appropriate for Disney than for NBC, but the little bird’s terrifying journey was a dangerous mistake that should never have happened, experts told The Post.
The charming owl – nicknamed Rockefeller – was lucky enough to survive after his home was cut down and then wrapped in plastic for an uneven 200-mile truck ride to Manhattan.
The brown-and-white stain with a file – which was found to adhere to a branch on Saturday as the tree was unfolded – was not removed from the tree before it was cut down, although Rockefeller Center staff said it was “meticulous”
He was forced to survive three days without food or water as he lay sealed in a cocoon of plastic wrap and wire.
“When it comes to wildlife, there’s always a bigger picture, it’s not an owl in a sweater, there’s a bigger educational picture,” said Missy Runyan, who runs the Hunter Center for Friends of Feathers and Furry Wildlife.
“In the worst case … such a tiny body would be crushed by a limb from above.”
The bird, named Rockefeller because of its unwanted, temporary new home, endures roaring car horns and other foreign missiles echoing through the branches while driving, a known stressor for owls.
But in a world where people are constantly encroaching on wildlife habitats, situations like this “happen more often than not, sad enough,” Runyan said.
As for logging, logging and landscaping companies are “always careless” when checking nests and hairy inhabitants of the tree, the aviator explained.
Many times whole families of birds find themselves face to face with a woodcutter when their home is cut down and have not been safely removed before, the expert said, adding that she was often called at the last minute to save such creatures.
“These are things you have to do, whether it’s a 50-foot tree or a 20-foot tree, you have to make sure there are no nests of protected birds or live birds in it,” Runyan explained.
She said there was a 50/50 chance that the owl would die when the tree was cut down and likely save his own life in the process.
“The worst-case scenario would be that the bouncing limbs have cracked eyes or such a tiny body would be crushed by a limb from above, but if something pushes it, it will get out and put in position, so something is not,” Runyan explained. .
“So he may have started in one place and actually saved himself for the ride.”
In addition to the saw, Runyan said the 75-80-year-old tree probably had a number of empty bird and slave nests that would make the birds homeless when they returned in the spring to look for them.
“Songbirds return to their nests every year, so these are the things that everyone should be on hand for, because what you have to do is check for one of those nests, and if there aren’t any, that’s wonderful thing, but you have to check for these nests and move them to another tree, ”Runyan said.
“Especially now, the more habitat we take away, the more we use it, using strings and rubbish to make nests if we keep cutting everything down.”
It is not clear if any nests have been removed from the 30-Scale tree in advance, but Runyan said the inability to properly remove and relocate nests is common in the industry.
Rockefeller Center officials told The Post, “The tree is thoroughly inspected branch by branch before being wrapped for its trip to the city.” A spokesman tried to claim that the bird had fallen into the sealed tree “on the road or even on arrival at Rockefeller Center.”
Of course, Rockefeller could have flown into the tree at the last minute after the arborists did their inspection, but the bird is already in a very “stressful” position, which has to be processed by humans and moved. Plus, it’s not clear where the bird migrated, and its pattern may no longer be heard.
“Oneonta may have been where he will spend the winter,” Runyan said.
The bird is currently caring for Ellen Kalish at the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, who did not respond with a request for comment. The staff plans to release him there instead of returning him to where he was found, which is not what Runyan would do.
“That doesn’t mean she’s wrong, but you don’t know if you’re right,” Wildlife said.
“That’s why I’m wrong on this side of caution. There are just too many unanswered questions about it. “