Meet Flaco Jr., the baby owl who fell from a Long Island nest

Meet Flaco Jr.!

The baby owl will have another chance at life after falling earlier this week from a 70-foot nest on Long Island.

The 1-2 week old animal was found on the ground by a woman, who initially thought it was leftover snow.

Sweetbriar Nature Center in Smithtown made a brand-new nest and – thanks to help from PSEG – was able to re-nest the animal with two other babies. The mother is already back feeding them.

The baby owl, which has already stolen the hearts of Long Islanders, is named Flaco Jr. in honor of Central Park’s beloved owl, Flaco

Flaco, the Eurasian eagle-owl who escaped from New York City’s Central Park Zoo and became one of the city’s most beloved celebrities as he flew around Manhattan, died last month, zoo officials announced.

A little over one year after he was freed from his cage at the zoo in a criminal act that has yet to be solved, Flaco collided with an Upper West Side building, the zoo said in a statement.

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

Staff from the Wild Bird Fund, a wildlife rehabilitation center, responded to the scene and declared Flaco dead shortly after the collision. He was taken to the Bronx Zoo for a necropsy.

"We hoped only to see Flaco hooting wildly from the top of our local water tower, never in the clinic," the World Bird Fund wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Who was Flaco?

Flaco's time in the sky began on Feb. 2, 2023, when someone breached a waist-high fence and slipped into the Central Park Zoo. Once inside, they cut a hole through a steel mesh cage, freeing the owl that had arrived at the zoo as a fledgling 13 years earlier.

Since the zoo suspended efforts to re-capture Flaco in February 2023, there has been no public information about the crime.

Flaco had defied the odds, thriving in the urban jungle despite a lifetime in captivity. He became one of the city’s most beloved characters. By day he lounged in Manhattan’s courtyards and parks or perches on fire escapes. He spent his nights hooting atop water towers and preying on the city’s abundant rats.

He was known for turning up unexpectedly at New Yorkers’ windows and was tracked around the Big Apple by bird watchers. His death prompted an outpouring of grief on social media Friday night.


Associated Press Writer Stefanie Dazio in Los Angeles contributed.