Georgia family finds owl living in their Christmas tree

It’s not a partridge in a pear tree, but a Georgia family did find an owl living in their Christmas tree a week after they bought it and decorated it for the holidays.

Katie McBride Newman’s 10-year-old daughter, India, discovered the owl in their 10-foot Christmas tree, which happened to be adorned with about a dozen owl ornaments, after dinner a week after they bought it.

"She comes very dramatically into the dining room and goes, 'Mama, that ornament scared me,'" Newman told CNN. "Then she bursts into tears."

The family left the windows and doors open that night, hoping it would fly out on its own, but that didn’t happen.

The family began documenting the owl’s journey.

"It was surreal, but we weren't really freaked out about it," Newman told The Associated Press. "We're really outdoorsy people. We love the wilderness."

They left raw chicken out for the owl since it might not have eaten in several days.

They called Chattahoochee Nature Center. A member of the nonprofit wildlife center arrived Dec. 14 and assessed the owl. They determined it was an Eastern screech owl, a species common in the area, and that it was a bit lean after living on the tree for a prolonged time.

"We think he was just in there hugging the trunk," Newman told The Associated Press. "It's a very dense tree, and it was very fresh. That's why we picked it."

The nature center left the family with some tips for the owl’s release.

They kept the owl in a crate in a dark room before releasing it after dark. They put the crate outside that evening and by 9:30 p.m., the owl was gone.

Newman still believes she can hear it hooting.

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