Flaco, the beloved Eurasian eagle-owl who escaped from the Central Park Zoo last year, has died.

The Central Park Zoo confirmed the bird’s death in a statement released Friday night.

“We are saddened to report that Flaco, the Eurasian eagle owl discovered missing from the Central Park Zoo after his exhibit was vandalized just over a year ago, is dead after an apparent collision with a building on West 89th Street in Manhattan,” the zoo said.

What You Need To Know

  • Flaco the owl has died after an "apparent collision" with a building on the Upper West Side, the zoo said Friday
  • The beloved Eurasian eagle-owl escaped his exhibit at the Central Park Zoo last year 

  • New Yorkers paid tribute to Flaco at a makeshift memorial at his favorite oak tree in Central Park on Saturday

Residents of the building reported Flaco’s collision to the Wild Bird Fund (WBF), a wildlife rescue service based in the city, the statement said.

“Staff from the WBF quickly responded, retrieved the non-responsive owl and declared him dead shortly afterward,” the zoo said. “The WBF notified zoo staff, who picked up the bird and transported him to the Bronx Zoo for necropsy."

Flaco escaped his exhibit at the Central Park Zoo in February of last year, after a vandal or vandals cut through the stainless steel mesh of the enclosure, the zoo said. He had lived there for 13 years.

The owl marked a full year of living in the wild earlier this month. Since his escape, bird enthusiasts had frequently spotted him in Central Park and on the Upper West Side.

New Yorkers came to Central Park Saturday to pay their respects to Flaco at a makeshift memorial at his favorite oak tree. He’d often be found resting there during the day.

“It hit me hard. Not the news I was expecting to wake up to, it was like a punch to the gut,” said bird enthusiast Christina Zacharczuk.

“It’s tremendously sad news. Flaco was an owl that we watched nearly every day, and he was loved all over the world. Flaco was the world’s most famous bird for a long time," said birder David Barrett who runs Manhattan Bird Alert on X. Barrett kept Flaco fans up-to-date on the owl’s whereabouts.

Some New Yorkers followed Flaco's travels across Manhattan from the East Village to the Upper West Side to Central Park in order to see the majestic owl in person.

In its statement, the zoo said it “appreciate[d] all the support and concern over the well-being of Flaco throughout the past year and the many people who contacted us with updates.”

“We especially appreciate the quick response by the staff of the Wild Bird Fund in their attempt to help Flaco,” the zoo said.

“The vandal who damaged Flaco’s exhibit jeopardized the safety of the bird and is ultimately responsible for his death,” it added. “We are still hopeful that the NYPD, which is investigating the vandalism, will ultimately make an arrest.”

Flaco would have turned 14 next month.