Flaco Died of a Window Strike

Flaco the Eurasian eagle-owl in Central Park shortly after he escaped his damaged cage, 18 Feb 2023 (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

1 March 2024

One week ago today, on 23 Feb 2024, the most famous owl in New York City hit a window on West 89th Street and died.

Flaco the Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) escaped his enclosure at the Central Park Zoo more than a year ago after a vandal damaged it on 2 Feb 2023. The zoo tried to recapture him and worried that he would starve or be hit by a car. Instead Flaco thrived on his own and became a symbol of freedom to many New Yorkers.

A crowd watches Flaco on 18 Feb 2023 (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

He endeared himself to apartment dwellers by sometimes visiting their highrise windows or perching on their fire escapes.

Flaco peeping in a window in NYC, Dec 2023 (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Sadly a window was Flaco’s undoing. Flaco’s biggest fan, David Lei (@davidlei), reported:

Memorials sprung up instantly.

Memorial to Flaco, the Eurasian eagle-owl, New York City, 25 Feb 2024 (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Flaco’s death was covered in the New York Times: Flaco, Escaped Central Park Zoo Owl and Defier of Doubts, Is Dead and commented on by the zoo where he lived most of his life.

His story should not be over, though. Flaco was not the only bird to die of a window strike in North America. He was merely the most famous. Nearly one billion birds per year hit windows in the U.S.

If your home has ever experienced a window strike please implement one of these techniques to prevent further collisions and deaths.

Find out more at this vintage blog, written after one of our young peregrines died of a window strike.

I hope Flaco’s death inspires everyone to do more to prevent bird deaths at windows.

(credits are in the captions)

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