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Rocky, the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree owl, is released back into the wild

The owl is returning to the great outdoors after her unexpected journey.
/ Source: TODAY

The owl that was discovered inside this year’s Rockefeller Christmas tree after it was transported from upstate New York to New York City has been released back into the wild.

The bird, dubbed Rockefeller — or Rocky, for short — was spotted inside the 75-foot Norway spruce by workers at Rockefeller Center, some 170 miles away from her home after traveling from Oneonta, New York.

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Originally believed to be male, Rocky was taken to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, where she was treated for over a week for dehydration and hunger. She was released into a forest overnight in upstate New York.

“Watching her fly today was really a beautiful thing,” Ellen Kalish, director and founder of the wildlife center, told TODAY.

The center tweeted a clip of Rocky's release.

"Rocky's release was a success! She's a tough little bird and we're happy to see her back in the wild. She will feel your love & support through her journey south," the tweet read.

Letting Rocky go was a reward unto itself, according to Kalish.

“To see them go on their own is just such a thrill. It's just the perfect ending to all the work,” she said.

After an unlikely trip to New York City, Rocky is back in the wild.
After an unlikely trip to New York City, Rocky is back in the wild.Ravensbeard Wildlife Center

“It could not have happened at a better time. It's coming at the end of the year, too, to give us hope, I think,” she added.

Rocky’s trip to the big city was an unlikely adventure that amazed Kalish.

"We’ve been in existence for 20 years, and I've never seen anything like this," Kalish told WNBC, an NBC affiliate, last week.

"The fact that he wasn’t crunched was a miracle. The fact that he made the trip alive ... waking up in New York City with hundreds of people around? They’re very quiet and shy little creatures and are extremely nocturnal and very rarely seen,” she added. “So it's totally understandable that he wasn’t seen when they were transporting the tree."