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Family finds owl in Christmas tree at Georgia home

By Ben Hooper

Dec. 19 (UPI) -- A Georgia family said they turned to the experts for advice when they made an unusual discovery -- an owl hiding in their Christmas tree.

Katie McBride Newman said she and her children, India and Jack, were finishing dinner last week at their home in Newnan when India was spooked by what she initially thought was an owl-shaped ornament on their Christmas tree.

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"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 said there were several owl ornaments hanging on the tree, went to see which ornament the girl was talking about and made a surprising discovery.

"And I'm like, 'Oh, that's a real owl,'" Newman said.

Newman's husband, Billy, said they initially thought the owl had flown in and taken refuge in the tree, but they later started to suspect it had been inside the tree ever since they bought it two days after Thanksgiving.

The family tried leaving doors and windows open for the owl to leave on its own, but they ended up contacting the Chattahoochee Nature Center when the avian stayed put.

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A nature center employee visited the home and identified it as an Eastern screech owl, a species common in Georgia. The employee captured the bird and put it in a crate.

The Newmans kept the crate in a darkened room and released the owl outside after dark.

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