The adult female Saw-whet owl was dubbed “Rockefeller” after it was discovered on November 16 by a worker setting up the towering holiday tree in Manhattan.
The Norway spruce was cut down 170 miles northwest of the city in upstate New York and was brought to Manhattan on November 14.
The bird, which was first thought to be male but later determined to be female, was taken to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in the Hudson Valley, where it was dining on mice in preparation for her big return to the wild.
“I just want to make sure she’s well-fed before he goes,” Director Ellen Kalish told the Daily Freeman on Thursday.
Kalish said the owl is in “great condition” with no bone fractures apparent after an X-ray.
After some rest and recuperation, the owl was released into a conifer forest in Saugerties, New York on Monday night.
Like the 2 million other saw-whet owls, she’s expected to begin the annual winter migration south soon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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