The tiny owl found in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree took flight on Tuesday after being treated at a wildlife rehabilitation facility for several days.
The Ravensbeard Wildlife Center said on Tuesday that Rocky — short for Rockefeller — was cleared for take off at dusk by avian veterinarians and owl experts.
“Rocky's release was a success!” the center said in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “She is a tough little bird and we're happy to see her back in her natural habitat.”
"We are sure that Rocky will feel your love and support through her journey south," the post continued.
Dozens of people expressed their gratitude on social media for her swift recovery and safe release.
On Tuesday, a Facebook user said: “This made me tear up a little, in a good way! Happy life Rocky.”
The adult Saw-whet owl was rescued last week after accompanying the 75-foot Norway spruce from Oneonta, in upstate New York, for the 170 mile ride to New York City.
When the owl was found, she hadn’t eaten or drunk in days, but began to recover after getting fluids and food. A worker who helped transport and secure the tree discovered the owl and his wife called the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center.
The center said a return trip to Oneonta would likely be too traumatic to the bird, so it planned to release it on facility grounds in the upstate town of Saugerties.