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Hundreds turn out in Central Park to remember Flaco the owl

Hundreds flock to Central Park to remember Flaco the owl
Hundreds flock to Central Park to remember Flaco the owl 01:59

NEW YORK -- There was a large gathering in Central Park on Sunday for a famous and beloved owl that was embraced by the the hearts of New Yorkers.

Hundreds turned out to remember Flaco, who escaped the Central Park Zoo a year ago but died just over a week ago.

Flaco truly made a mark in the city. At the base of his favorite tree in Central Park, there were beautiful notes, pictures, flowers to remember the beloved owl.

Many gathered Sunday afternoon to remember Flaco and the legacy he has left behind.

"It's about all the love people have for him," Stella Hamilton said.

"That's the best part of Flaco. He really created a community," bird enthusiast Sandra Beltrao.

READ MORENew Yorkers honor beloved owl Flaco in Central Park

Many had been following the 13-year-old owl, whose popularity took flight over the past year since a vandal let him out of the Central Park Zoo in Feburary 2023.

"I saw him many times," bird photographer Cole Ippoliti said. "It was always a magical moment."

Some said Flaco was a true survivor, as the odds were against him once in the wild. He learned to fight for food and made his home in various parts of Manhattan.

But just over a week ago, Flaco was found dead. Officials said it appeared that he had flown into a building on West 89th Street.

While he's gone, he will certainly be remembered.

"He was a survivor, first and foremost. You look at him and his photos at the zoo, he was actually Flaco. When he came out here and he got to see the city and make himself ... he really fluffed up," said Alexander Hiller of the Upper West Side.

"He made it. He did what he had to do to survive and thrived in the end, and the city being out here today shows he was a true New Yorker," said Gianna Paniagua of the Upper West Side.

Because of Flaco's death, there has been a renewed push for legislation in Albany to require new or remodeled buildings to use materials to reduce bird collisions and use bird-friendly glass.

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