A Northern saw-whet owl that stowed away and traveled from West Oneonta to New York City last week on the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree was released into the wild Tuesday at dusk, but those involved refused to say where the release would take place.
The owl, called "Rocky," by operators of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Ulster County, has been cared for at the center since it was discovered by workers erecting the tree at Rockefeller Center.
According to a media release, the owl, deemed to be a female, "will be released within a conifer forest in Upstate New York." Only Ravensbeard staff were allowed at the release, according to the media release.
Ellen Kalish, Ravensbeard director and founder, said in the release: “We believe it had been about three days since she ate or drank anything. The first order of business was to give her fluids and feed her all the mice she could eat."
Because of the owl's weight, Kalish said, it was initially believed to be a male, as males of the species are smaller. It was later discovered the animal is female, the release said.