Christmas is a time for surprises and, surprises being what they are, they are not always what you might think is even possible. For one family in Georgia this holiday season brought a guest they had never dreamed of. They didn't even know it was in the house until their daughter claimed that one of the Christmas tree ornaments was scaring her and then burst into tears.
The "ornament" that had scared India turned out to be a small owl that had somehow gotten into the house and the tree. Mom, Katie McBride Newman, didn't believe her daughter at first, but seeing was believing. She began posting photos and videos on Facebook. The next thing to do was to try to get the owl to return to nature.
They would leave their windows open at night, hoping to encourage the raptor to escape. The bird apparently did not feel the need to go out hunting and liked its nice warm perch. Newman called the Chattahoochee Nature Center outside Atlanta for help dealing with the owl. They were advised to feed raw chicken to the owl since it may not have eaten for up to a week prior, when the tree had been purchased.
When an employee of the Center arrived a the Newman home in Newnan, GA (you can't make this stuff up), she identified the owl as an Eastern screech owl. She captured the bird, checked it for injuries, gave it some food and nutritional supplements. The creature was put in a crate for safe keeping until it could be released out the Newman's home after dark when it would be ready to be active.
The Newmans did everything right in this incident -- shutting the owl off from the rest of the house, trying to let it leave on its own, and calling wildlife professionals for help. The owl left the crate on its own and Newman swears that she can hear the bird outside their home after dark hooting away.
Despite the initial shock of the incident, the Newman family actually enjoyed dealing with their unexpected holiday guest. It has certainly been one Christmas owl always remember.
Images via CNN