“It was surreal, but we weren’t really freaked out about it," McBride Newman said. “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 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."