I promised myself that I would check on the Red-tail hawks living in New York City after the sadness at the Estonia White-tail Eagle nest.
As it happens, hawks and falcons have always been my first love. It was an encounter of closer than 15 cm (or 6 inches) with a female Sharp-shinned Hawk that changed my life and it was a fondness for a bonded pair of RTHs raising a family on a ledge of the Bobst Library of New York City University that cemented my bond with these amazing birds. Sadly, the female died in March 2020 from rodenticide poisoning. The University appears not to have reconnected that camera for 2021 for the Washington Square Hawks. Indeed, there are few streaming cameras that I can find. To get images of the birds now, you need to go to one of a few blogs. One of the best was Roger Paw who reported on many of the nests in the urban area. During the pandemic, they relocated outside of the City. Laura Goggins is a photographer (see below) and she has a web site as does D. Bruce Yolton. I note that Bruce is very quick to answer my questions if I have any and his photography work in the Central Park area is lovely. Check him out.
Pale Male was the first celebrity ‘bird’ I was introduced to by friends. Look at that cute face with those very dark adult RTH eyes.
Pale Male got his name because he does not have the typical rich brick red plumage – he is rather ‘pale’.
Pale Male is 31 years old and he has raised hawklets to fledge in his Central Park Penthouse for many years. The address for the nest is 927 5th Avenue right across from Central Park! I told you it was a penthouse – one of the most expensive and exclusive buildings in the city of NY. There was a movie made about Pale Male and the fight to keep his nest on this iconic building. You should watch it as it is extremely inspiring! If you are feeling low, check it out ——- and if you are looking for an interesting movie to watch, check it out.
Sadly, for the past two years Pale Male’s mate, Octavia, brooded eggs that did not hatch. This year she has not laid any eggs at all. It looks like it could be the end of twenty-five years of Pale Male raising hawklets to fledge. Hawklets or not – to watch the daily lives of these amazing urban raptors is a privilege.
Bruce Yolton, an avid photographer and the chronicler of the city hawks, took some footage of Octavia on the nest. The couple did not bother with bringing in sticks and building up the nest this year. The stainless steel spikes were put there especially to hold the nest material for this famous Red-tail hawk couple.
To compare, here is an image of the nest when Octavia and Pale Male were raising eyases:
As you can imagine, there are many challenges for hawks and falcons in an urban setting. One of those is rodenticide put out to keep the rats and mice at bay. Of course, anyone that knows anything about these designer poisons realizes that they kill many other animals other than rats! That includes our beloved hawks and falcons but also domestic pets such as cats and dogs who eat or play with the mice and rats. Many do not like pigeons and put poison out for them and, one of a Peregrine Falcons favourite meals is pigeon. Load the city with hawks and falcons, ban the use of rodenticide and other designer poisons, and let the birds do their job.
Of course, there are other obstacles to living a long healthy life and they include the tall buildings that are built close together, window strike, vehicles, and drones to add to the list of things that might injure or kill a hawk. Oh, and hawks chase birds into window wells – the narrow space between skyscrapers – and not able to get out!
One of my favourite pairs of Red-tail hawks is Christo and Amelia who have their nest in Tompkins Square, New York City. Their daily lives are monitored by Laura Goggin, a wildlife photographer who lives in the area. She has produced a short video on the pair and the three eyases for 2021. It is only a minute long.
If you are tired of hearing about wildlife and domestic pets being killed by poison rats and mice, go to this site. They have educational materials and can give you all of the background information you need to fight this issue with knowledge and facts. Go to Raptors are the Solution – RATS. What a fabulous name!
It is a gorgeous sunny 18 degree C day on the Canadian prairies. I have quickly checked on a few of our raptor friends. Iris is asleep in the sun at her Osprey nest in Missoula, Montana; Tiny Tot let sibling #2 have the first part of the first fish arrival at 6:55:18. Tiny knew the best part was later and that mum would feed him! And that is precisely what happened. Maya was feeding the Two Bobs their tea while Legacy is waiting for a food delivery. So, right now, everything seems to be alright in Bird World.
It sure is nice to see the Two Bobs without any injuries following the fish incident on 14 May. My goodness who would have thought a headless fish could have wrecked so much havoc.
Thank you for joining me! Grab your popcorn and watch The Legend of Pale Male tonight. It will certainly lift your spirits if they need it.
Thank you to the LRWT and the Rutland Osprey Project. That is where I got my screen shot of Maya and the Two Bobs.