Eurasian Eagle Owl in Central Park

It seems the Central Park Zoo has given up on trying to recapture Flaco the Eurasian Eagle Owl and it seems to be thriving off of rats. It may be the only chance to observe one in North America for quite awhile, even if its an escapee.

What are peoples opinions on it? Is it bad that the effort to recapture it has been given up, allowing another invasive species? Or is it not a big deal since its just one bird?


At this point it’s just an introduced species - to become invasive it would have to multiply and spread. Unless they add a second bird that’s unlikely to happen.


They can hybridize with Great Horned Owl, for the record.


I doubt it has means to become invasive alone in the lark, it’d be interesting to know if it can hybridize, but personally I wouldn’t bother observing an escapee, it’s not much different from captured bird in a big enclosure.

I haven’t read the original news stories about this particular owl, but recapturing a large owl with appropriate rodent traps wouldn’t seem to be that difficult, unless this is a veeery smart owl! I need to read the stories to understand how those efforts failed.

1 Like

Apparently there are groups who are trying to sabotage his recapture by scaring him away whenever zookeepers get close. Also, since he is hunting on his own I guess the zoo isn’t as concerned that he will perish in the wild.

That’s terrible. Honestly, why do people feel the need to do things like that? Disgusting.


Because people want a “free” bird to stay free. It’s a strange cultural phenomenon among people who believe it’s for the best and morally right.


Why put free in quotation marks? Free is the correct antonym of captive. And if he is succeeding on his own, I would not be convinced that recaptuing him is for his own good.

Captive animals live longer and healthier lives. Eurasian Eagle-Owl is a potentially invasive species in the US (sure it’s just one, but you can’t be too careful).


I can understand where you are coming from, but since he did live for most of his life in captivity it may be better for him if he was recaptured. He has little to no experience with the outside world and could injure himself or others if he got hit by a car or something.

Not to mention, the potential risks to native migratory birds and other owls being potentially exposed to new illnesses.

Personally I am on the fence and don’t have an opinion either way, both sides have good arguments, but I just wanted to give the other perspective to it as well. =)


I’m not on a fence on this issue. However regal and beautiful the bird is, it is non-native and doesn’t belong in the wild (even the wilds of Central Park). Mine is a simple but important line to draw in the sand: Non-native species shouldn’t be released into native habitats unless there is a very good reason…and those are few and far between and often debatable.


We have different opinions on what free should entail. The enclosure was reported to be sabotaged to release this bird. Either way it is not an intentional release to anywhere that is suitable for this bird. I would consider “free” to be in a more apt habitat. Labelling a release into an urban park in the middle of NY City as freedom downplays what freedom should be for a bird like this.


If we get right down to it, that downplays what freedom should be for us, too. But it’s still preferable to captivity, and it is unlikely that sufficient suitable habitat will be available for us anytime soon.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.