New Yorkers Mourn Flaco, Beloved Owl Who Escaped Central Park Zoo

Flaco was reported missing when his exhibit was vandalized over a year ago.

Visitors at the zoo entrance with a banner featuring a red panda
Cindy Ord / Getty Images
Visitors at the zoo entrance with a banner featuring a red panda

Flaco, the Eurasian eagle owl that went missing from the Central Park Zoo, has died.

According to a statement from the Central Park Zoo, Flaco went missing after his exhibit was vandalized over a year ago. The statement did not specify how old Flaco was at the time of his death.

We are saddened to report that Flaco, the Eurasian eagle owl discovered missing from @centralparkzoo after his exhibit was vandalized just over a year ago, is dead after an apparent collision with a building on West 89th Street in Manhattan.

— WCS (@TheWCS) February 24, 2024
Twitter: @TheWCS

The owl collided with a building on West 89th Street in Manhattan, approximately two miles north of his home at the zoo. People inside the building alerted the Wild Bird Fund who responded quickly. Unfortunately, Flaco was declared dead shortly after he was retrieved.

The WBF coordinated with zoo staff to transport the bird to the Bronx Zoo for a necropsy.

News of Flaco’s death quickly spread on social media, where mourners eulogized the late bird.

rip flaco the reverse lexi featherston

— Desus MF Nice💯 (@desusnice) February 24, 2024
Twitter: @desusnice

I’m absolutely heartbroken that Flaco has died. He was a beautiful, noble bird who made the most of his freedom. I feel blessed that he visited me and grateful that for the last year he has flown free. Rest in peace, Flaco. You are so beloved.

— Nan Knighton (@nanknighton) February 24, 2024
Twitter: @nanknighton

Goodnight, sweet Flaco 🧡

— Molly (@Molly_Bangles) February 24, 2024
Twitter: @Molly_Bangles

I love you flaco. You will always be a free bird

— Noah Hurowitz (@NoahHurowitz) February 24, 2024
Twitter: @NoahHurowitz

Flaco, you gave so much joy to many of us. I’m glad you experienced life outside an enclosure during the one short year that you were free. We will miss you terribly, your hoots , stretches, cute Flaco expressions and many fly outs in the evenings🦉 #birdcpp

— Vee Nabong (@VenusNabs) February 24, 2024
Twitter: @VenusNabs

Me: RIP Flaco

Friend: who?

Me: he loved saying that 😭😭

— sophist (@no_sophist) February 24, 2024
Twitter: @no_sophist

As you may have already seen, Flaco the Eurasian eagle-owl has passed away. I am sad beyond words. Flaco defied the odds and made quite a life for himself in the city over the past year. Along the way he came to mean so much to so many, including me. ❤️🦉

— David Lei (@davidlei) February 24, 2024
Twitter: @davidlei

We are suggesting a temporary memorial for Flaco at his old favorite oak tree on the west side of East Drive at 104th Street, a place to lay flowers, leave a note, or just be with others who loved Flaco. 🦉 ❤️

— Manhattan Bird Alert (@BirdCentralPark) February 24, 2024
Twitter: @BirdCentralPark

The Central Park Zoo says that they blame that vandal who damaged Flaco’s exhibit is ultimately responsible for his death.

“We are still hopeful that the NYPD, which is investigating the vandalism, will ultimately make an arrest,” they said via statement.

Per the zoo, Flaco had been frequently seen in and near Central Park and other locations across Manhattan since last February.

“We appreciate all the support and concern over the well-being of Flaco throughout the past year and the many people who contacted us with updates. We especially appreciate the quick response by the staff of the Wild Bird Fund in their attempt to help Flaco,” wrote the zoo. 

“We will provide additional information once a necropsy is performed and further testing results are in.”

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