The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree made its way to New York City this week, but the 75-foot Norway spruce had a special passenger: a tiny owl, who quickly captured the internet’s attention, since this is 2020 and there’s absolutely nothing else going on that we could possible pay attention to.
The owl was rescued by the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, which plans to release it in Saugerties, New York. URBO reached out to the center and arranged a quick interview with the owl.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
URBO: Thank you for being here.
OWL: It’s not like I had much of a choice.
URBO: I want to talk about your journey. Being a baby owl, did—
OWL: Whoa, whoa, hold on a second. I’m not a baby. Write that down. Make that you’re headline: OWL NOT A BABY. I’m an adult Saw-whet, so let’s get that [expletive] straight.
URBO: Oh, I’m sorry. You’re trending as “baby owl.”
OWL: Yeah, well, you’re not trending at all. Look, do you know how humiliating it is to be world-famous as a “baby” when you’ve got two kids at home? Kids who look up to you, who screech at you, who rely on you to avoid raccoons and slightly large pigeons?
Owl by myself: A worker helping set up the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree found a holiday surprise — a tiny owl among the branches. The little bird, now named Rockefeller, was discovered on Monday, dehydrated and hungry, but otherwise unharmed. https://t.co/T5tKzC8tOF #odd
— AP Oddities (@AP_Oddities) November 19, 2020
URBO: I really didn’t know.
OWL: Okay, well, now you do. I’m not a baby. My friggin’ feathers are already turning grey. I have a mortgage.
And look, man, I’ve got to get back to my kids. I’ve got a half-digested mouse in my stomach, and if I don’t get back to the nest soon, I’m going to have to go and half-digest another one for their dinner. Do you know what it’s like to fully digest a mouse that you planned on regurgitating?
URBO: Actually, yes. I did that once at a party. I was trying to make friends at college.
OWL: How was it?
Workers setting up this year’s #ChristmasTree at Rockefeller Center in New York City got quite a surprise when they discovered a small owl among the 75-foot Norway spruce’s branches. The Northern Saw-whet Owl is now in the care of wildlife rehabbers. https://t.co/QgqSzDFHh5 pic.twitter.com/mvJdtv0oTR
— BirdWatchingMagazine (@BirdWatchDaily) November 18, 2020
OWL: You’re damn right. [Lights cigarette]
URBO: Whoa, you smoke?
OWL: Trying to quit. It’s hard at this time of year. The holidays, you know, they’re not easy on anyone.
URBO: What’s Owl Christmas like?
OWL: It’s a lot like every other day of the year, except you see your in-laws more and all the owl banks are closed. You end up eating a lot of pumpkin-spice-flavored mice, even though you swear every year that you’re going to avoid the things next year. And you give out presents to your owl friends.
URBO: What kind of presents?
OWL: Regurgitated mice. We don’t have a lot of range.
URBO: What’s next for you? Will you fly home, to, uh, be with your babies?
OWL: Dude, look at me. I have a wingspan of, like, 6 inches. My top speed is about 5 miles per hour, unless there’s a slight wind, in which case I’m following that wind. By the time I fly myself home, it’ll be next Christmas, and I’d probably just land in the next Rockefeller tree. Your people had better get me a rideshare, or I’m gonna start pooping on statues.
URBO: I didn’t know that owls could Uber.
— CP24 (@CP24) November 19, 2020
OWL: We have Owlber. It’s similar, but, you know, it actually pays the workers. We strap ourselves to a big hawk or eagle.
URBO: Does that work out pretty well?
OWL: Yeah, except some of the hawks will try to sell us crappy candy or refuse to turn the radio when Will Smith comes on. Oh, and this is not me being prejudiced, but bald eagles are…not the smartest eagles.
URBO: You’d prefer a hawk, I guess.
OWL: I didn’t say that, man—don’t print that. Bald eagles are great. I love bald eagles. [Whispers] Man, don’t start stuff. We’ve got three bald eagle nests near us, and one of them is trying to start an HOA.
URBO: I, uh, won’t. Look, I have nothing else to ask you. This was a pretty simple story. You were in a tree, now you’re headed back. I don’t know what else there is to say.
OWL: Works for me, bro. I’ve got to hit the road anyway. Hey, you don’t want half of a semi-digested mouse, do you? It’s barkin’ up at me.
URBO: Sure, actually. I didn’t bring my lunch today.