LIFESTYLE

Fans gather to say goodbye to Flaco the owl in New York City memorial

Mar 3, 2024, 11:15 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Dozens of mournful fans of Flaco the Eurasian eagle-owl gathered in New York City on Sunday to say goodbye to the beloved celebrity creature who became an inspiration and joy to many as he flew around Manhattan after someone let him out of his zoo enclosure.

A memorial featuring speeches, songs and poems was held in the late afternoon in Central Park at what organizers call Flaco’s favorite oak tree.

Flaco was found dead on the Upper West Side on Feb. 23 after apparently hitting a building. Testing by zoologists concluded he suffered traumatic impact injuries, but more testing is planned to determine whether he may have been sick.

His death was a heartbreaking end for the birders who documented his daily movements and the legions of admirers who followed along, as people posted photos and videos of the majestic owl with a nearly 6-foot wingspan perched on tree branches, fence posts, fire escapes and water towers — as well as his hours of hooting.

“With all of this challenging time that is happening all over the world, this bird really became a symbol of hope and brought so many of us together,” Breanne Delgado said at the gathering.

David Lei, an avid birder in the city, said losing Flaco was hard to put into words. He said the owl faced the same fate as many other birds in Manhattan — flying into the deceptive windows of tall buildings.

“Flaco was larger than life and is leaving behind a legacy to match,” Lei said. “I thank him today, as I did every day I got to see him, for the joy, awe and wonder he inspired in us throughout his journey.”

People at the ceremony also advocated for new laws aimed at helping to prevent birds from flying into buildings and curbing the use of rat poison that larger birds can ingest while eating prey. Efforts also are underway to put a statue of Flaco in Central Park.

Flaco was freed from his cage at the Central Park Zoo a little over a year ago by a vandal who breached a waist-high fence and cut a hole through a steel mesh cage. The owl had arrived at the zoo as a fledgling 13 years earlier.

Zoo officials and his fans were at first worried about his survival, but he soon proved adept at catching rats and other prey. The zoo later suspended efforts to re-capture him after failed attempts.

Tributes poured in from across the globe after his death.

Police are still seeking to arrest whoever let him out of his enclosure.

Lifestyle

Associated Press

Her dying husband worried she’d have money troubles. Then she won the lottery

FREEPORT, Pa. (AP) — In the weeks before his death, Karen Coffman’s husband worried she might have money troubles after he was gone. But two weeks before he died in April of complications from a brain tumor, the Pennsylvania woman bought a scratch-off state lottery ticket that netted her $1 million. “When I told him […]

1 day ago

Associated Press

You don’t think corn dogs are haute cuisine? These chefs, using alligator sausage, beg to differ.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Stefani De Palma, an award-winning chef and head of the a team vying to represent the Americas in a French culinary competition in January, knew she wanted her team’s work to feature flavors of her native California. The challenge at the Bocuse d’Or Americas competition this week in New Orleans was […]

2 days ago

Associated Press

High school president writes notes thanking fellow seniors — 180 of them

Emily Post would be proud. A high school class president in Massachusetts who gave a commencement speech wanted to recognize all of his fellow graduates. So he wrote them personal thank-you notes presented at the ceremony — 180 to be exact. “I wish I could’ve acknowledged you all, but there was simply not enough time,” […]

3 days ago

Associated Press

Silicon Valley-backed voter plan for new California city qualifies for November ballot

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A Silicon Valley-backed initiative to build a green city for up to 400,000 people in the San Francisco Bay Area has qualified for the Nov. 5 ballot, elections officials said Tuesday. Solano County’s registrar of voters said in a statement that the office verified a sufficient sampling of signatures. California Forever, […]

4 days ago

Associated Press

New York considers regulating what children see in social media feeds

New York lawmakers on Tuesday said they were finalizing legislation that would allow parents to block their children from getting social media posts curated by a platform’s algorithm, a move to rein in feeds that critics argue keep young users glued to their screens. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James have been […]

11 days ago

Associated Press

New Orleans plans to spiff up as host of next year’s Super Bowl

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans hosts its 11th Super Bowl next year and the preparations involve showcasing the city’s heralded architecture, music, food and celebratory culture while addressing its myriad challenges, including crime, pockets of homelessness and an antiquated drainage system. Louisiana Gov. Jeff Landry joined Mayor LaToya Cantrell and a host of other […]

11 days ago

Fans gather to say goodbye to Flaco the owl in New York City memorial