This audio story is brought to you by BirdNote, a partner of the National Audubon Society. BirdNote episodes air daily on public radio stations nationwide.


This is BirdNote.

Christmas tree plantations may not be the best habitat for wild birds, but they do hold an attraction – for Northern Saw-Whet Owls. 

These miniature owls seem to feel at home in the small evergreens. And when the birds are spotted, they’re most likely to remain motionless rather than fly away.

So it’s not surprising that, a few years ago, a Saw-Whet Owl in Oregon took a long, strange trip. In the middle of December, a lovely little evergreen was cut down on an Oregon tree farm. Turns out, this tree already had an ornament – a tiny Saw-whet Owl, hunkered close to its trunk. The tree – owl and all – was wrapped in a mesh bag, and off it went to British Columbia.

The owl traveled in its needly prison, in a stack of Christmas trees, for a week or more. Imagine the surprise of the family who found it! Fortunately for that little owl, a wildlife rehabilitator nearby knew just how to take care of a hungry, dehydrated owl. It was nursed back to health and regained its life in the wild.

So if you buy a Christmas tree this year, you may get more than you bargained for.

Hey, I hope I do! For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann.


Producer: John Kessler

Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

Written by Ellen Blackstone

Narrator: Mary McCann

Sounds of Northern Saw-whet Owl [89405] provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, recorded by T. Knight.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.

© 2015 Tune In to     December 2013/2017   ID#    NSWO-02-2011-12-14

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