Rescued saw-whet owl launched from wildlife rehab facility

Rocky, the Northern Saw-whet Owl, rests on a rehabber’s hand before flying off. Video still from Ravensbeard Wildlife Center

The story of the Northern Saw-whet Owl that was trapped in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree came to a happy conclusion Tuesday night when the bird, a female nicknamed Rocky, was released into the wild.

The staff of the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, cared for the owl for about a week and kept the public updated via its Facebook page.

Around mid-day on Tuesday, they wrote:

“We have exciting new to share! Rockefeller has been well cared for, and she has been cleared by specialists for take off (yes, we determined Rocky is a girl!). Rocky will continue on her migratory journey south today at dusk. The release will happen at sunset so that she can find safe cover by nightfall. We have found just the right quiet cluster of conifers to give her the safety she needs.”

Here’s the post and video showing the owl’s release.

Ravensbeard is raising funds via GoFundMe for a permanent facility. ”Ravensbeard Wildlife Center has been a refuge for injured and orphaned wildlife for over 20 years,” writes organizer Ellen Kalish. “However, 5 years ago the center was forced to relocate. And since then has been set up as a temporary rehab shelter. This year we took in over 150 birds –way beyond our capacity.

“We need a permanent home, one where volunteers can come to work easily. Where we can expand the amount of heated and open air cages. A real clinic to store supplies and freezers to hold food donations. Believe it or not, rodents are quite expensive, and our birds are picky eaters. A place with a pond or lake for the waterfowl that we take in every year. And space for students and visitors to come and learn about the birds and garner support and care for our environment.” To donate, visit this page. 

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