1708975470 The sad end of Flaco the bird of prey who

The sad end of “Flaco”, the bird of prey who spent a year searching and catching in New York | Climate and environment

Since his escape a year ago, the memory of Flaco, Central Park Zoo's most famous resident, has captured the imagination of New Yorkers visiting Manhattan's green lung. Armed with binoculars, telephoto lenses and patience, groups of ornithologists and amateur photographers, as well as curious onlookers, peered toward the treetops in case the refugee suddenly struck his statuesque pose in a chyma. Its appearance here and there, from an oak tree to an elm, was regularly seen on the networks, with photos of the sighting, while an X account (formerly Twitter) confirmed its wanderings. By last Friday, the 13-year-old eagle owl died when he crashed into a building on West 89th Street in mid-flight.

“We are sad to announce that Flaco the eagle owl has disappeared from the Central Park Zoo enclosure.” [donde vivía] was destroyed just over a year ago and died after an apparent collision with a building on West 89th Street in Manhattan,” the Wildlife Conservation Society said in a statement. Flaco had become a symbol of the survival of wild life in a city that is also wild for the creatures, humans and animals, that live there. During a year of freedom, he proved that those who gave him only a few days to live because he was unable to feed or protect himself were wrong: for twelve months he managed to live alone – and to fly. Its story also evokes the rich fauna of a city exposed to asphalt and fences.

On Friday around 5:30 p.m. he was found still alive by a resident of the building on the above-mentioned street, who happened to be an experienced bird watcher (a common hobby among New Yorkers). “He was lying face down in front of the basement door that led to the terrace of our building. It was not a pleasant sight at all,” the distraught man told reporters. It was still flapping and the neighbor urgently called the Wild Bird Fund, a wildlife rehabilitation center, some members of which rushed to the scene. There was nothing they could do to save him. The bird's body was taken to the Bronx Zoo for an autopsy.

When he escaped from the zoo on February 2, 2023, tributes were raised in the park. Next to the pond on East 72nd Street sprouted postcards, stuffed animals, flowers, candles and ribbons, as well as messages of love and support from passersby who called Flaco a member of the family. When the hooligans allegedly cut the metal grille that protected him, Flaco gained freedom and New Yorkers a symbol: that of a longing once satisfied. The close bond that New Yorkers have with animals (wild or domesticated) is well known: in an unknown place in the park, discovered only by pure chance, with lost steps, stands a tree that has been transformed into a secret monument which pays tribute to cats, dogs, rabbits, hamsters and other creatures who shared their lives with humans. It is more or less called the “Pet Memorial Christmas Tree” and is sacrificed between Thanksgiving and Epiphany.

SlimA street artist is dedicating a mural to Flaco the owl in Manhattan this Sunday. BING GUAN (Portal)

From her profile in As if it were necessary to encourage her… Since his escape, he has been the main target of the numerous groups of ornithologists and photographers who tour the park daily. The photos, which reflected their appearance in various trees, spread like wildfire on the networks and on the numerous community information portals. Catching Flaco sitting in a tree with his scrutinizing predatory eyes was like winning the jackpot in a raffle. Gradually he ventured beyond the trees and was seen brazenly on fire escapes and ledges, sometimes even leaning out of windows in buildings surrounding the park. His plumage soon found its way onto sweatshirts, coffee mugs and stickers, among other things.

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Flaco spent a year searching and capturing him, although no sheriff issued an order. The point was to return him to the comfortable and well-maintained area of ​​the zoo, to keep him away from the dangers that come with any city, from power lines to pest activity. The next attempt came from the New York police themselves, who described their failed rescue operation as “an adventure”: “We tried to help this little know-it-all, but he got fed up with his growing audience and took off. “

The owl escaped from the zoo just over a year ago after hooligans damaged the mesh enclosure in which it lived. “The vandal who damaged Flaco’s home endangered the bird’s safety and is ultimately responsible for its death,” WCS said in a statement. “We still hope that the New York police investigating the attack will make an arrest.” His disappearance follows another sad event: the recent run-over death on a beltway of Rover the bald eagle, another of New York's most famous residents.

Leave a message on his final message about “laying flowers” or just spend some time with others who loved me.” An event in his memory will be held there next Saturday.

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