A beloved owl who became a well-known resident in New York’s Central Park has died.
Barry the barred owl was flying low in search of a meal when it collided with one of the park’s maintenance trucks on Friday morning, park authorities said.
The owl’s death has prompted bird lovers across the world to share their photos and memories of Barry.
A Twitter page dedicated to birds in the park said they would miss Barry’s “wondrous and beautiful presence”.
The owl had become a popular sight for visitors to Central Park, especially last year when the pandemic hit, and many bird watchers would visit to try and photograph the park’s star resident.
According to Central Park Conservancy, the incident happened at 02:30 local time, when the owl “made contact” with the pick-up truck. “It’s with a heavy heart we share that a barred owl, a beloved Central Park resident, passed away early this morning,” it said on Twitter.
“The barred owl’s presence in Central Park brought so much joy, reminding all of us that the Park is a vital greenspace for all New Yorkers, including the wildlife that call it home.”
Becoming quite the icon for bird watchers in Central park, Barry even had a Twitter fanpage.
“Words cannot express our devastation at the loss of our bea-hoot-iful Barry,” an emotional post said, adding: “We are utterly heartbroken, frankly, angry, and we are mourning with you.”
Many bird lovers shared similar feelings of anger, demanding to know why the vehicle was driving around at a time when many nocturnal creatures hunt.
I have questions. How could a nocturnal bird with incredibly sharp eyesight and hearing “make contact” with a vehicle? Was she run over by a speeding vehicle while she was feeding on her prey? Let’s hear an explanation.
— Deborah Shapiro (@rhtkdjudo) August 6, 2021
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The Central Park Conservancy, which is responsible for the care and maintenance of the space, said the team were carrying out scheduled works and followed all protocols by travelling slowly at 15mph (24km/h) with the vehicle’s lights and flashers on.
Since the creation of the park, more than 280 bird species have been recorded there. In 2018 a mandarin duck became a social media superstar as photos of his stunning multi-coloured feathers made every online influencer swoon.