5. Little Rockefeller

Image Courtesy of Ravensbeard Wildlife Center

Little Rockefeller, a small Saw-Whet Owl brought some Christmas cheer to New York City in 2020 when he hitched a ride from Oneonta to Rockefeller Center inside the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Though her stay in New York City was brief, the tiny owl with big eyes captured the hearts of New Yorkers who followed her story of rehabilitation. After he was discovered by a crew member on the Christmas tree transport team, Little Rockefeller, as she was dubbed, was sent to the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties to recover from his journey.

Though it looks like a baby, Rocky, as the owl was affectionately called, is a full-grown Saw-Whet Owl. Saw-whet Owls are the smallest owls in the northeast. At Ravensbeard Wildlife Center, Rocky was given fluids and fed “all the mice she would eat.” After receiving a clean bill of health from the vet, the owl was released back into the wild at dusk. If you ever get the chance to go see a rare bird in New York City, please keep in mind the Audubon’s guide for ethical bird photography, which reminds us to avoid causing birds any unnecessary stress or disruption.

Wild City: Celebrity Birds of NYC

Discover more famous birds of New York City in our next Wild City virtual talk with author Thomas Hynes! Tickets to this talk on Tuesday, April 27th are just $10. You can gain access to unlimited free virtual events per month and unlock a video archive of 100+ past events as an Untapped New York Insider starting at $10/month. Already an Insider? Register here! Can’t make it live? Register for this virtual talk and we’ll email you a recording of it after it ends

Next, check out 10 of NYC’S Most Famous Animals Throughout History