My latest column for The Record is all about Flaco, the Eurasian Eagle Owl who escaped from the zoo after his cage was vandalized. You can read it here. (A big thank you to zoologist Fred Virrazzi for his photograph of the eagle owl.)
Fred notes: "If the bird is not impacting the local native ecology and wildlife it's technically not an invasive. At this point, Flaco is not posing a threat to any park component. Escaped, invasive Mandarin Ducks have caused serious open-space problems.
"As far as Flaco enjoying his freedom, that is what Americans rightfully value for themselves. We observed Flaco seemingly stressed by crows a few times. The literature is unclear on emotions in birds; Flaco is unlikely recognizing the esoteric idea of being free flying vs being in a cage, although his former enclosure was too small. It's our habit to project our values onto animals but it's often a stretch."
You can read the column here: