Flaco Flies the Coop


Student Writer, Student Writer

Who is Flaco? Flaco the owl made his great escape from the Central Park Zoo in early February after his habitat was vandalized and he was able to slip out. The incident made both local and national headlines at the time, though the story took an unexpected turn when the zoo announced it would allow the bird to remain free.

Flaco’s escape started when someone cut the stainless steel mesh on his exhibit. Flaco was smart enough to squeeze out of the hole. Who can blame him? His exhibit is the size of a bus stop and he has been living in it for twelve years. If I were living in an enclosed bus stop for twelve years and I had a chance to escape, I would definitely take it. After he escaped, Flaco was on the loose. Flaco didn’t venture very far from the zoo, which makes tracking him easier. He was initially spotted by members of the public and the New York City Police Department on the sidewalk and in trees by the zoo. In the days that followed his escape, the large owl settled in Central Park, an 840-acre green expanse in New York City. Zoo staff tried to capture him with food lures and recordings of eagle owl calls, but Flaco isn’t a dummy, so he swooped in for the food, narrowly avoiding the traps.

You can tell Flaco was thinking “They must think I’m a fool to fall for this one,” His face says it all.

Displaying those skills allowed officials to feel comfortable leaving the animal in the park, much to the delight of local birdwatchers who have documented the animal’s movements. “We are going to continue monitoring Flaco and his activities and to be prepared to resume recovery efforts if he shows any sign of difficulty or distress,” the zoo said in a statement on February 17. The animal had previously only lived in captivity.

Some common questions about Flaco from the public were-

How old is Flaco?                                                                                                

———– Flaco the owl is thirteen years old, more than twelve of which were spent in a zoo.                           

What type of owl is he?                                                                                        

———– Flaco is a Eurasian Eagle Owl.

Why is he named Flaco?                                                                                    

The bird’s name in Spanish means “skinny,” and it seemed he was in danger of living up to his name in the early days of his escape because he hadn’t been seen eating. But when he started coughing up fur and bones, it sparked excitement — proof that he had been hunting and eating.

In the end, Flaco is living happily in Central Park. He has learned how to survive on his own by nesting in trees and eating wildlife. So if I were you, I wouldn’t worry about Flaco because he is an Empire Stater now.