It was almost like the scene from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation where Clark Griswold peers into the family Christmas tree and comes face to face with a squirrel.
Except, luckily for the Newman family their unexpected guest didn’t fly out and cause too much of a scene.
Katie McBride Newman, of Newnan, Georgia, said the surprise guest was first discovered last Thursday when her daughter India, 10, became spooked by an ornament, or so everyone thought.
“She comes very dramatically into the dining room and goes, ‘Mama, that ornament scared me,'” Newman told CNN. “Then she bursts into tears.”
The mother of two went to investigate and quickly discovered it wasn’t an ornament that frightened India it was a live owl.
“And I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s a real owl,'” Newman said.
Ironically enough, the family had about a dozen owl ornaments hung on their tree.
The family was unsure how it got there–they purchased the tree from a store a few days after Thanksgiving–but one thing was for sure it couldn’t continue to live in their home.
That night the Newmans left the lights off and doors open, hoping the owl would take off in the middle of the night, but no such luck.
The next morning they contacted the Chattahoochee Nature Center, an environmental center for help. The Newmans were advised to contain the owl and feed because they suspected the bird hadn’t eaten for quite some time.
An employee from the nature center drove an hour to the Newmans’ home and inspected the bird for any injuries. She also gave it more food and helped them place the owl in a crate so it could be released back into the wild.
It wasn’t long after they placed the crate outside that their little visitor took flight and escaped into the night.
“Thank you for the honor you bestowed on our family – for making the magic & mystery of advent come alive in our home, and for inspiring connection among all who followed the adventure,” Newman wrote on Facebook. “God’s peace to you as you make your new home outside our home. We hope to see you again. . . And to all a good night.”
What an adorable little guest! Thankfully this little fellow was able to fly away.
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