New York City’s beloved owl, Falco is no more! - Hindustan Times
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New York City’s beloved owl, Falco is no more!

Feb 24, 2024 01:50 PM IST

Falco, North America's only Eurasian eagle-owl dies after hitting a building.

Flaco, the only Eurasian eagle-owl in the wild in North America, died on Friday after hitting a building in Manhattan. He had escaped from the Central Park Zoo last year when someone vandalised his enclosure.

This photo provided by David Lei shows Flaco the owl, April 28, 2023, in New York. Courtesy David Lei via AP)(AP)
This photo provided by David Lei shows Flaco the owl, April 28, 2023, in New York. Courtesy David Lei via AP)(AP)

The zoo said in a statement that the Wild Bird Fund (WBF) found Flaco dead at the scene and notified them. They retrieved his remains and took them to the Bronx Zoo for a necropsy.

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“The vandal who damaged Flaco’s exhibit jeopardised the safety of the bird and is ultimately responsible for his death,” the zoo said.

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Flaco was rescued by the zoo in 2010 as a young owl. He spent 13 years as an exhibit before his escape. He was feared to be unable to survive in the wild, but he proved to be a skilled hunter and flyer.

Falco: No way to Zoo

The zoo tried to recapture him with bait and calls, but he did not fall for them. They gave up after a few weeks, but kept an eye on him. They said they were ready to help him if he needed it.

Flaco mostly stayed in or near Central Park, but sometimes explored other parts of the city. Some thought he was looking for a mate. He was often seen by people who admired his beauty and majesty.

“We appreciate all the support and concern over the wellbeing of Flaco throughout the past year and the many people who contacted us with updates,” the zoo said.

“We especially appreciate the quick response by the staff of the Wild Bird Fund in their attempt to help Flaco.”

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Flaco’s death sparked an outcry on social media. Many users on X (formerly known as Twitter, shared their grief and gratitude for his remarkable journey. One user suggested demolishing the building where he crashed.

Flaco was a large owl, with a wingspan of about 6ft (1.8m). A study by ornithologist Stephen Ambrose in 2020 suggested that city lights could blind owls and make them crash into buildings.

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