Bill proposed to protect birds in New York and could be renamed after Flaco the owl, mourners leave flowers

UPPER WEST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) — There is a growing monument to Flaco. There are notes, flowers, art, and more dedicated to the owl that sadly died on Friday. His life was so meaningful to New Yorkers.

Flaco, a 14-year-old Eagle Owl, escaped from the Central Park Zoo in February last year after someone cut a hole in his cage. He quickly became a sensation for bird watchers and non-bird watchers alike. To many he represented freedom.

Sadly, he was found last Friday on the floor of the courtyard of an Upper West Side apartment by the building’s superintendent, Pjeter Nikac.

“When I walked in, I saw him right behind my door, with open arms and he was still alive,” Nikac said.

He called building resident Alan Drogin, an avid birdwatcher, and the two called professionals to try to revive Flaco, but it was too late.

“It’s a little sad because this isn’t the environment for them, it’s not natural,” Drogin said.

An initial investigation conducted by the Wild Bird Fund indicates he died from hitting a window, but the Bronx Zoo is conducting more testing to determine if other factors, such as rodenticide, led to this event.

According to research by NYC Audubon, between 90,000 and 230,000 birds are killed annually in the city by collisions with building glass.

Nikac told Eyewitness News how sad he felt about this tragic discovery.

“It hurts, that’s bad,” Nikac said. “Pretty bird.”

“The number of people who come with flowers … says a lot about New Yorkers,” said Sunday Humphrey, a visitor to the monument.

A petition is now circulating to erect a statue in the park in Flaco’s honor. The petition has reached its goal of 500 signatures and is now aiming for 1,000.

Local leaders are also renewing their advocacy for a bill that would require new or renovated buildings to have bird-friendly designs. It would be given a new name: Flaco’s Act.