• Flaco the iconic owl of New York City has tragically died
  • The beloved bird made headlines after escaping his enclosure in the Central Park Zoo last year
  • After surviving the skies of NYC for a year, his taste of freedom came to an end when the bird collided with an Upper West Side building 

New York City's favorite feathered friend has tragically died after colliding with a building on the Upper West Side a year after vandals helped him escape captivity. 

Flaco is a rare Eurasian Eagle-Owle who previously called the Central Park Zoo home - until the bird was reported missing from his exhibit last February. 

It was later revealed that vandals had cut Flaco's stainless steel mesh cage and set the owl free into the skies of New York City. 

Against all odds, Flaco survived on his own, despite fears that his plush life at the zoo - where he was fed and tended to by workers - had set him up for failure. 

After a year of thriving in freedom, Flaco was sadly reported to have flown his last flight on Sunday at 3 am.

The owl was reported to have sadly died after flying into a water tower on West 86th Street east of Columbus Avenue in the Upper West Side.

Reports of hoots were heard in the area, according to David Barrett’s Manhattan Bird Alert account on social media.

The bird's body was found just a few blocks away - confirming what Flaco's fans had feared after hearing the news of distressed hoots on his regular stomping ground.

Following Flaco's disappearance from his Central Park Zoo enclosure last year, a full bird-hunt was launched in an effort to safely return the feathered-creature to his home. 

He was spotted shortly after being reported missing on the city's iconic shopping stretch on Fifth Avenue. 

Flaco was then intercepted by the NYPD on a sidewalk by 60th Street but able to elude their custody. The next morning he made off into Central Park. 

'Our focus and effort at this time is on the safe recovery of the owl,' zoo officials said in a press release. 'We will issue updates as needed.'

Despite efforts, Flaco maintained his status as a free bird and was even rumored to have taken a vacation from his Central Park pad in search of a mate.

Experts believe he abandoned the park in November to search for a mate after he was spotted five miles away on East 3rd Street.

He was thought to be the only member of his species in North America, meaning his search might have had to expand further than downtown Manhattan.

'It's the time of year when these owls look to pair up if unattached,' tweeted fans at Manhattan Bird Alert.

'Flaco's hoots have gone unanswered for a long time now.

'He was last observed in Central Park on the evening of October 31, and that's when we think he left.

'He likely took short, incremental night flights in the course of hunting that carried him five plus miles in six days.

'He is unaware that no mates are anywhere in the region.'

Flaco was less than a year old when he arrived at Central Park Zoo in 2010 taking up residence near the Penguins and Sea Birds building.

He had little chance to develop his flying or hunting skills in captivity but has thrived since his escape and been spotted eating up to four rats at one sitting, belying his name which means 'Skinny' in Spanish.

His fans were nervous he would fall victim to the rodenticide used to poison rats which is thought to have contributed to the death of a barred owl known as Barry, who died in the park in 2021.

Flaco will be greatly missed by New Yorkers.  

Read more

2024-02-24T16:13:28Z dg43tfdfdgfd