Saint Nick successfully broke out of prison this Christmas Day, but if you have images of a jolly old man in a red suit attempting to scale the towering walls of the Smithfield prison in Pennsylvania, think again.
The festive creature was actually a snowy owl, named Saint Nick for the date of his rescue. After getting stuck in the razor wire fence surrounding the prison, Pennsylvania Game Commission officer Amanda Isett arrived on the scene to coax the bird to safety. Using a net, crate, and Army blanket, the bird finally made it out of the restrictive wire.
Other than some minor skin tears and a few broken feathers, the snowy owl was relatively unharmed. The juvenile bird was taken to Centre Wildlife Care for rehabilitation before being released back into the wild.
As you may have noticed either in your own neighbourhood or in the news, there has been a huge spike in snowy owl sightings across North America. According to Project SNOWstorm, aptly named for the birds they track, a huge irruption is in store for this winter, with these feathered critters showing up further south than usual.
If you’re an avid birder or just appreciate the beauty of the snowy owl, keep your eyes peeled for more cousins of ol’ Saint Nick as they streak across our winter wonderland.