In life, New Yorkers followed Flaco, the Eurasian eagle-owl’s adventures on social media, in Central Park and in Upper West Side courtyards.

In death, they flocked to a makeshift memorial in Central Park. And in Flaco's memory, some are getting him inked on their skin.

“I mean, he got out. He did a jailbreak, and then he went and lived his best life for a while,” Charlie Connell said.

What You Need To Know

  • Flaco, a Eurasian eagle-owl, died in February, a little over a year after he escaped the Central Park Zoo when a vandal cut a hole in his cage

  • Fans of Flaco were able to get tattoos in his likeness Thusday at East River Tattoo

  • For many, Flaco symbolized survival and resilience

Connell was at East River Tattoo in Greenpoint Thursday, where it was Flaco Flash Day. Flash tattoos are pre-drawn designs, as opposed to custom ones.

Several artists at the shop offered up Flaco tattoos for $150, with all tips going to the Wild Bird Fund. People were lined up for a spot, including Camille Zentner.

“I’ve just been very moved by his freedom and then by his death and how he was symbolic for so many of us,” she said.

Flaco escaped the Central Park Zoo in January 2023, after someone cut through his enclosure. He learned to hunt and fly long distances for the first time, and spent more than a year as a free bird, but died on Feb. 23.

He was found with trauma to his chest and a necropsy found high levels of rat poison in his body that contributed to his death. His story moved many New Yorkers.

“I think it’s the idea that he was — I know this is controversial — but trapped for so long, and not able to exercise his abilities and his kind of innate desires. And then he was freed and he could survive and I think that’s a lot of what we feel and love about our city, the resilience,” Zentner said.

Duke Riley, an artist and the owner of East River Tattoo, said he’s long been inspired by the survival of birds in urban environments, and that Flaco’s effort to carve out a space for his existence in the city resonates with many.

“I think it’s something that’s still really on people’s minds and that there’s some sadness about. And I think that having this has been a chance for people to commemorate Flaco and make sure that he’s not forgotten,” Riley said.

Some City Councilmembers are also looking to memorialize Flaco, with legislation in his name. Flaco’s Law would encourage the use of birth control to limit the rat population, rather than poison.

While Flaco was a non-native bird, plenty of local raptors, like hawks and native owls, have been killed by rodenticide after they eat poisoned rats.