OwlGate: Family Discovers Screech Owl Nestled in Christmas Tree

   12.20.19

A family in Georgia had a real life ‘Christmas Vacation’ moment last week after they discovered a wild animal had been living in their Christmas tree.

Katie McBride Newman was at home with her children one evening when her daughter made a strange observation about one of the ornaments on the tree.

“[India] comes very dramatically into the dining room and goes, ‘Mama, that ornament scared me,'” Newman reportedly told CNN.

Turns out the “ornament” was actually a small owl, and it was very much alive.

It’s not known for sure, but the critter was likely living in the tree when the family brought it into their house. Either way, it seemed quite comfortable nestled alongside the multicolored Christmas lights and other ornaments – the fake kind..

That night, the family left all of their windows open hoping the owl would eventually fly away and return to the wild. When it didn’t vacate the home, they phoned the Chattahoochee Nature Center and asked for some advise.

An employee at the center recommended they tried feeding the owl some chicken, a task the family documented on Facebook:

Eventually, an employee from the nature center went out to the Newmans’ house to relocate the bird, which was identified as an Eastern screech owl – Georgia’s most prominent species of owl.

The employee helped remove the owl from the Christmas tree and advised the family to put it in a box/crate and release it at “twilight.”

“Now we wait for the outcome of OwlGate,” Newman wrote in a Facebook post which included photos and video of the family release the owl outside their home.

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