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Family's Tree Comes With a Guest

Owl apparently was hidden in the branches when family brought its Christmas tree home
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 21, 2019 7:30 AM CST

(Newser) – A Georgia family got a real hoot from its Christmas tree: More than a week after they bought it, they discovered a live owl nestled among its branches. Katie McBride Newman said Friday that she and her daughter spotted the bird on Dec. 12, the AP reports. They had bought the 10-foot tall tree from a Home Depot, brought it back to their Atlanta area home and decorated it with lights and, coincidentally, owl ornaments. India, 10, spotted it first. "She comes very dramatically into the dining room and goes, 'Mama, that ornament scared me,'" her mother said, per CNN. McBride Newman said: "It was surreal, but we weren't really freaked out about it. We're really outdoorsy people. We love the wilderness." The family opened windows and doors near the tree hoping the owl would fly away, but it didn't.

"The owl seemed to be pretty comfortable, and I thought, 'Hey buddy, it's not going to go well if you just stay here. There’s no food, I’m sorry,'" said McBride Newman's husband, Billy Newman. So the family wisely called a nonprofit nature center for help. The Chattahoochee Nature Center caught the bird and helped the family release it. McBride Newman said she believed the bird had been in the tree since they bought it but was hidden. "We think he was just in there hugging the trunk," she said. "It's a very dense tree, and it was very fresh. That's why we picked it."

(Read more Christmas tree stories.)

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