Posts Tagged ‘Pale Male’

They live among us and yet how often have you seen a hawk?  I mean other than circling high above in the sky when you’re driving or soaring on a wind current?  No, I mean a real live close-up view of a Red Tail Hawk.  Most everyone thinks New York City is just a teeming mass of people hurrying from one place to another, ginormous stone and granite buildings, miles of sidewalks, chugging buses and speeding taxis….and of course the Empire State building and Times Square.

Of course there is more to our city than that, so much more I should actually start another blog just about NYC.  But until then, let me remind you about Central Park.  Purposefully planned by the city commissioner and executed by the world class team of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Central Park is a verdant oasis in the middle of the high rise landscape of Manhattan.

And it is here, in Central Park, where much wildlife abounds;  One of my favorite denizens are the Red Tail Hawks.  The life and times of Pale Male and his famous mate Lola and the removal of their nest from a Fifth Ave Co-op and the uproar and scandal that ensued have been well-documented in the newspapers and in film.  Well, Pale Male may have lived on Fifth Avenue but he surely ate in Central Park.

Here are some wonderful photos taken by Murray Head of a young Red Tail Hawk who went out looking for his lunch.  

Off To Find Something To Eat

Off To Find Something To Eat

First, A Canape

First, A Canapé

Mmmm Tasty Little Morsel

Mmmm Tasty Little Morsel

They Live Among Us

They Live Among Us

What's This?

What’s This?

Oh Boy, Look What I Got!

Oh Boy, Look What I Got!  I Think He’s Smiling!!!

A Beautiful Young Red Tail Hawk

A Beautiful Young Red Tail Hawk

All Photos Courtesy of Murray Head

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Who knows, and quite frankly, who cares?  Certainly not I!!! I’m not interested in why fors or whatevers – I think my personal fascination comes from a deep appreciation of all wildlife, flora and fauna.

There have been numerous articles about New Yorkers and the life and well-being of Pale Male and his former mate, Lola.  We all have heard the story of the building’s maintenance crew destroying the nest of the two Red Tail hawks, invoking the wrath and retribution of thousands led in a crusade by Mary Tyler Moore!  Rallies were held, committees were formed, newspaper articles written, and all the usual Big Apple hoo-ha you can imagine.   FINALLY the nest was re-installed but it was not quite right;  rumor has it that a spike from the pole it sat on was poking through, ugh, but who really knows.  The upshot of that was several years of failed mating- no eggs or at least no survivors, a shame.  A universal or at least City-wide mantle of guilt and shame lay on the shoulders of the citizens.  Man had interfered with nature and now look what we did!

But that was then, and this is now.  Lola is gone! She disappeared from the nest; old age? death? illness? Whatever, she was gone.  Pale Male still the stud hawk he has always been found himself a new young mate (the trophy wife) and this season they produced two eggs that were studiously watched over by both parents and onlookers, not to mention the obsessive bird-cam addicts online.  And lo and behold, two fine young Red Tail hawks were born and are now growing youngsters.

Here’s a peek at these two fine young Red Tail Hawks.  If they have been named, I’m unaware as of yet.  There’s a striking resemblance to their parents, one looking like Ginger and one in the image of Pale Male;  however, for all I know they’re both males or both females – time will tell.

red tail hawk, Pale Male offspring, Ginger offspring, Central Park,

The Kids!

red tail hawk, Pale Male offspring, Central Park,

Is This A Chip Off The Old Block?

Does She Look Like Ginger?

red tail hawk


red tail hawk, New York City

A Beautiful Bird

Central Park, Pale Mail offspring, New York city

Feet First Landing

red tail hawk

Nice Mani-Pedi

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

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I’ve been living in New York City for a long time and I admit that I don’t spend a lot of time in Central Park. So when I heard a beautiful bird song the other day, I stopped dead in my tracks.  It was a clear sweet sound and then it abruptly changed.  A lyrical trilling followed and then a distinct chirping… I couldn’t believe my ears but it sure sounded like a Mockingbird. Further investigation into a bush-like tree along the sidewalk and sure enough it was a Mockingbird; Peter and I saw the long tail and watched the little throat pulsate and the beak move as this lovely bird sang out.

What a great thrill it was and a surprise too!  Of course I know there are birds in New York City and those that read this blog steadily know I have posted many photos of birds taken by my friend Murray Head. He has shot photos of all kinds of birds from Egrets to Warblers, from Hawks (probably Pale Male) to Herons and Buntings to Thrushes. BUT those pictures are taken in Central Park where wildlife abounds and this was outside an office!

Anyway, this little ornithological treat got me to thinking about birds in Manhattan and I remembered something very, very interesting.

Several years ago, I was waiting on a corner  to cross the street when I heard a bird chirping and it sounded like it was right above me and it was.  I looked up and there sat a bird on the crosspiece pipe of a street lamp.  As I watched, the bird hopped to the end of the pipe and then disappeared inside the hole at the end.  What??? Yes! The bird went into the pipe.  I waited and soon the bird reappeared and took off but there were still chirps coming out of the pipe.  Amazing I thought.  A bird had built a nest inside the pipe where it was really safe from marauders and other dangers.  Wow, Mother Nature and the little sparrow’s survival skills were pretty impressive.

I mentioned it to Peter and he told me that he had seen this urban phenomena many times.  After that incident, I kept my ears open for the sound of birds on street corners and over and over again I did see birds housing themselves on City property.  Bird squatters I guess.  These spunky little Sparrows found a home in urban New York City.  It’s not that we don’t have lots and lots of tree-lined side streets because we do and I would guess there are bird’s nests in them but I’ve never seen one  and we have a LOT of street lights!!

Manhattan street light, New York City, sparrow nest

Home Sweet Home

Think about this; not only is the bird really protected from the elements in his little pipe house, there’s usually a trash can on every corner so I’m sure there is fairly endless supply of food crumbs for the picking as well as nest-building materials.  Just goes to show you how adaptable living creatures can be to their environment.  You do what you gotta do to survive wherever you are and whoever you are…reminds of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse.

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