Central Park Zoo Vandalism Sets Owl Free in NYC

Keep an eye out for an owl named Flaco

Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo was at the center of an unsettling incident.
Roman Eugeniusz, CC BY-SA 3.0

A pink pigeon isn’t the only notable bird in New York City news this week, and the Dallas Zoo isn’t the only zoo in the U.S. where strange happenings are taking place. Unfortunately, what that means in this instance is that one of the birds that’s historically called NYC’s Central Park Zoo home is now on the loose in the Big Apple — and in the middle of a particularly nasty stretch of weather to boot.

Gothamist has more details on the owl taking both literal and metaphorical flight. Flaco left his cage on Thursday night, after what the zoo termed “vandalism” left a sudden gap in the mesh that formed one boundary. Flaco did what owls tend to do in situations like this and, well, flew the coop.

Flaco is a Eurasian eagle owl, and has been seen by several observers in the vicinity of the zoo. According to Gothamist’s reporting, the NYPD attempted to retrieve Flaco at one point but were unable to. Gothamist also spoke with David Barrett of Manhattan Bird Alert, who had good news and bad news on Flaco’s current situation.

The good news: the cold weather currently bombarding NYC is worse on humans than it is on owls. The bad news: Flaco has been comfortably fed for the last decade, and his hunting skills may have atrophied during this time. Hopefully, this story will have a happy ending for owl and zoo alike.

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