Flaco the owl is at home in Central Park for the time being

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New Yorkers’ beloved owl, Flaco, escaped from her enclosure at the Central Park Zoo a month ago. After evading various rescue attempts, Flaco has settled into his new, sprawling home quite well – and he might just stay there to stay.

The Eurasian eagle owl’s enclosure was destroyed on February 2, allowing the bird, which has been in captivity since 2010, to fly out and be thrown into the chaos of New York City. He has since been spotted resting among the trees of Central Park, flying overhead at night and even occasionally holding a rat between his claws.

A February 17 update from the zoo revealed rescue attempts were being put on hold as Flaco proved he could feed and fend for himself in the wild.

“We will continue to monitor Flaco and his activities and stand ready to resume recovery efforts if he shows any signs of difficulty or distress,” the zoo’s statement said. “We will issue additional updates as the owl’s status changes or as our plan changes.”

Since its release, the owl-turned-New Yorker has attracted the attention of bird lovers around the world, even attracting crowds of bird watchers with binoculars and cameras in the evenings to spot the giant bird.

With a wingspan of up to 1.8 meters, the owl is one of the largest owls in the world. It can weigh anywhere from 1.4 to 4 kilograms, with females usually being larger than males.

Like most other owls, it is nocturnal. The owl hunts at night and tends to sleep during the day. In the wild, its lifespan ranges from 10 to 20 years, while some live up to 60 years in captivity.

Flaco, a Eurasian eagle-owl from Central Park Zoo, has been living in Central Park since escaping his devastated enclosure on February 2.

“The eagle owl is a conspicuous bird! It’s a giant owl, one of the largest in the world in terms of size, wingspan and mass,” said Dr. Andrew Farnsworth, a senior research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, New York, in an email. “All owls attract people’s attention because of their generally nocturnal habits that make them difficult to spot – seeing one, especially one on a sidewalk or in a meadow in the middle of a large urban area is certainly a wow- Moment.”

While Flaco is fine on his own, captive owls raised in zoos typically lack the skills and experience to hunt for themselves and feed effectively in the wild, according to Farnsworth, who has followed Flaco’s story.

“As many people want animals in zoos to be freed, the idea of ​​releasing these animals is a terrible idea,” Farnsworth added. “The animal’s own welfare and the welfare of wild animals in the community to which a captive animal is released can both suffer. Luckily that hasn’t happened in this case.”

Flaco’s story of resilience seems to have sparked an interest in birding, particularly among those trying to catch a glimpse of the feathered celebrity.

According to the American Birding Association’s code of ethics, it’s important not to stress birds while watching and to minimize habitat disturbance by keeping your distance and staying calm.

The association also notes the importance of teaching novices about respectful birding and “addressing instances of perceived unethical birding behavior with sensitivity and respect; Try to resolve the matter positively, remembering that perspectives are different.”

Additionally, it may pay to be mindful while sharing space with wild animals, as you are more likely to spot them go about their natural routines when left undisturbed.

“Respect for the birds you observe is essential,” Farnsworth said. “In general, I also advise people to be observant and thoughtful whenever possible – careful and calm observation almost always leads to many more observations, period.

“I also advise people to use all of their senses, because birds provide us with an incredible connection point with our natural world, whether it’s spotting an illegally released zoo specimen, listening to a northern cardinal in your yard, or spotting a red-tailed hawk in your apartment.” ”

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