The tiny owl found in Rockefeller Christmas tree gets a children’s book

Rockefeller, the saw-whet owl
Rockefeller, the saw-whet owl found in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, is the subject of a new children’s book.
(Associated Press)

The owl rescued from the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree this year is taking off as a bona fide celebrity — and she’s got her own book to prove it.

Rockefeller, or Rocky, who hitched a ride inside the towering Norway spruce last November, is the subject of the new children’s book “Rockefeller the Christmas Owl,” written by T. Troy Kolo and illustrated by Meredith Miner. The independently published book was released on Amazon on Dec. 8.

The adult northern saw-whet owl, from the smallest owl species in the Northeast, was found trapped in the 75-foot tree; its rescue amassed a following on social media (see: #RockefellerOwl). Rocky is believed to have traveled from upstate New York where the tree was cut down. The stowaway was found by a worker helping set up the iconic tree and carefully removed from the branches. She was named Rockefeller, wrapped in a bright orange blanket and rehabilitated at the Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, N. Y.


She became a holiday celebrity in the process.

The saw-whet owl was dehydrated and hungry, but got some mice and a clean bill of health from a veterinarian. It will be returned to the wild.

Nov. 19, 2020

The diminutive bird had gone three days without eating or drinking anything, the rehab specialists said. But after making a full recovery, Rocky was sent back on her migratory journey in hopes that she would reunite with her family.

“When I had heard the news, I immediately thought, ‘Boy, gee, there is a story there that practically writes itself,’” Kolo, 52, of Scranton, Pa., told the New York Post on Wednesday. “When the idea struck immediately after hearing about [the owl], I sat down and started to do a couple of verses and in a few days I had something finished.”

The first-time author reimagines Rocky’s journey in verse with a heavy sprinkling of holiday magic. In the book, which features illustrations depicting the Big Apple as a winter wonderland, Kolo. imagines the events that led the nocturnal bird to Rockefeller Center. He then sets the little owl on a New York adventure, complete with Santa Claus and a family reunion.

Across the city on Thanksgiving weekend, indie bookstores greeted lines of customers, kicking off a holiday season of high promise and existential concern.

Dec. 14, 2020


“It’s about getting back to your parents and the importance of family and how deep that runs within most of us,” Kolo told the Post.

Kolo’s 40-page book isn’t the only holiday item featuring the avian newsmaker. Rocky merch, including tote bags, water bottles and ornaments, are being sold on the Ravensbeard website, with proceeds going toward helping injured and orphaned wildlife.

A Rocky bobblehead also exists, and the wide-eyed owl is the latest critter to be featured on the aircraft tail of a Frontier Airlines Airbus.

Rocky could not be reached for comment on the book or any other appropriations of her image.