Bird had likely been in Georgia family's home for more than a week
One Georgia family got quite a surprise when what they thought was an owl ornament on their Christmas tree turned out to be a live eastern screech owl. Katie McBride Newman and her two children, India and Jack, were finishing dinner. India had moved into another room when Newman heard her yell.
She comes, very dramatically, into the dining room and goes, 'Mama, that ornament scared me,' Newman told CNN. Then she bursts into tears.
Newman, who is a fan of owls, has several owl ornaments on her tree and thought India had just been spooked by one of those.
But, when she peered into the tree, she saw a live owl turn its head and look straight at her.
And I'm like, 'Oh, that's a real owl,' Newman said.
The family left their windows and doors open that night, hoping the bird would fly away. But it didn't.
The next day, they called the Chattahoochee Nature Center for help. An employee there told them to leave the owl some raw chicken, concerned it may not have eaten in a few days.
The employee came to the house, caught the bird and identified the species. She checked the owl for injuries and gave it some food and nutritional supplements.
The owl was thin, which suggested it'd been in the tree since it was purchased a little over a week prior.
They put the bird in a crate in a darkened room, and at dusk, left the crate open outside. By 9:30 that night, the owl was gone.