Tiny Owl Found in Rockefeller Christmas Tree Becomes Social Media Darling as He Recovers From Strenuous Trek

After a few days of resting up and recovering at a local wildlife center, Rocky is set to be released on Saturday around dusk.

It’s a big deal every year when a giant tree is moved to Rockefeller Center for Christmas. But this year, the 75-foot Norway Spruce came with quite a surprise—hiding inside the branches was an adorable little owl.

The bird was found dehydrated and malnourished after not eating or drinking anything for three days while on a 200-mile journey from Oneonta, New York, where the tree was cut down, to Midtown Manhattan.

The owl was discovered by a worker helping set up the iconic display. He gently wrapped the owl in a blanket and brought it to a local wildlife center to be nursed back to health. There, he was fittingly named Rockefeller or “Rocky” for short.

Inside Edition caught up with the wildlife center to check in on the little guy’s progress. “He’s doing great,” one of Rocky’s caregivers said. “He’s eating up a storm. He took a bath on his own.”

A recent image shows Rocky looking happy and healthy.

“Saturday we will release him at around dusk. He’ll be on his own once we open up the crate,” the caregiver said.

And while the owl is bringing some much-needed spirit to the upcoming holiday season, the tree itself isn't getting much love. The 11-ton spruce looked magnificent when it was cut down, but upon arrival at Rockefeller Center after the long trek, it definitely looked worse for wear—a perfect metaphor for 2020.

A spokesperson for Rockefeller Center promises that the sad look of the tree is only temporary and when the branches settle and the lights are up, it will be beautiful.