Owl be home for Christmas!
What they didn’t realize was they’d brought home a lot more than a fir tree. They ended up with an owl, too.
While the Newman family was finishing dinner that night, Katie McBride Newman’s daughter, India, went to another room.
“She comes very dramatically into the dining room and goes, ‘Mama, that ornament scared me,'” Newman told CNN.
“Then, she burst into tears.”
Amusingly enough, Newman has a particular affinity for owls. The family’s decorations include many variations of the bird, so at first she thought India had just spotted a new one.
But lo and behold, when Newman went to check out what had startled her daughter, it was an actual bird. It turned its head and looked at her.
“And I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s a real owl,'” she explained, adding that it could have been in their home for weeks.
The Newmans brought the tree home not long after U.S. Thanksgiving in November. They never leave their doors or windows open, they said, so there’s no chance the owl flew in.
She shared video footage of the owl on Facebook, calling the incident “Owlgate.” Newman provided numerous updates, writing that they successfully fed the bird raw chicken.
In hopes of their winged friend finding its own way out, they left their doors open that night, but it didn’t budge.
Eventually, someone from the Chattahoochee Nature Center stopped by, caught the bird and placed it in a cage.
The family was instructed to leave the owl in the cage in a dark room and to release it once the sun went down.
The bird was identified as an Eastern screech owl, a very common species in the Georgia area, nature centre spokesperson Jon Copsey told CNN.
On Dec. 14, Newman shared a fundraiser for the nature centre on her Facebook page.