Wed 8 Dec, 2004 08:40 am
NEW YORK - Pale Male the city hawk was evicted from his nest, and the flap has already begun. So said aggrieved bird-watchers and neighbors after workmen raised a scaffold to the top of a Manhattan apartment Tuesday and ripped out the famous red-tailed hawk's nest.
The act appeared to end an urban drama that has fascinated bird-watchers over the past nine years, as Pale Male and a succession of mates raised 25 chicks ? the last trio of fledglings last June ? on the narrow 12th floor ledge over Fifth Avenue.
The hawks also achieved a measure of world fame, through television specials and a book, "Red-Tails in Love." On summer weekends, crowds have gathered at the Central Park boat pond to observe them.
"I am outraged," said a teary-eyed Jane Corin, who lives across the street. "That building has been very good about this until now. It's heartbreaking."
Pale Male ? so named for his whitish plumage ? and his mate, Lola, were nowhere to be seen as the nest was removed, nor were any of their latest offspring.
"The hawks will come back and find the nest is gone," said bird hobbyist Lincoln Karim, an engineer at Associated Press Television News who in summer often lets people view the birds through his giant telephoto camera. "How could these people do this?"
City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benape said he was consulting with state officials to determine who removed the nest and whether any law or regulation had been broken. Red-tailed hawks are not legally protected, he said but the loss of the birds would hurt because "they limit the rodent population in an area where natural predators were absent for a long time."
A doorman at the building said it was managed by Brown Harris Stevens, a prominent Manhattan real estate firm. At the company office, an employee declined to comment.
That's terrible. What is wrong with these peeps?
That is terrible. They weren't hurting anything.
I really, really thought "Pale Male" was going to be your pet name for Blatham...
Sucks about the hawks!
I'm pissed. I loved dem boids. Liked seeing all the boid watchers lined up with their binoculars. Phooey.
That truly is outrageous. I'd say these folks deserve some serious botherin' for it. If anyone cares, the building's management firm, Brown Harris Stevens, has the following phone numbers for their New York City office:
Phone: 1-(212)-906-9200 | FAX: 1-(212)-906-9288
The office of Hall F. Willkie, president of the firm, may be reached at 1-(212)-906-9203, and the office of Ruth McCoy, Executive Vice President and Director of Downtown Sales may be reached at 1-(212)-906-0501
Additional contact information:
Brown Harris Stevens
770 Lexington Avenue, 4th floor
New York, NY 10021
The firm is owned by Terra Holdings, Headquarters Phone 1-(212)-685-7777 | FAX: 1-(212)-674-8501
I am mildly suprised that a media outlet didn't also offer a bounty on the bird's heads to boost ratings. I'm sure Rush could find a reason for their demise that would please some of the huntin' & shootin' & choppin' listeners.
They've been there so long - I wonder how that will affect their personal survival.
I'd guess that come spring they'll find a new nesting site--but a new site won't have the same flavor for us featherless voyeurs.
Odds are they'll establish a new nesting site - its even fairly likely they'll pick the same spot on which to rebuild. In the wild, trees or limbs hosting nests come down by natural cause all the time and the critters just take what they can find and make do with it.
Timber, thanks for the addresses. I think that sending Christmas presents of several pounds of guano to those in the apartment building who objected to the birds and to the mindless developers, would be appropriate.
Noddy, the hawks are wonderful survivors, so I am optimistic about Pale Male's ability to find another home, but the bird watchers will be berift of those wonderful wild beings in the midst of New York.
I really, really thought "Pale Male" was going to be your pet name for Blatham...
I was gonna write just that, soz.
What a mean, stupid act! Sometimes you wonder about humans ...
The more I think about this, the pisseder I get. Those hawks gave great pleasure to many, many people and had been there for many years.
Pale Male is a survivor. He survived four or five mates. He'll find a new site. But it's unlikely that it will be on Fifth Avenue, in full view of the masses.
Did I mention I'm pissed?
They may reappear in the same locale. There were no other red tails in the area to challenge them. Once they've imprinted the area as capable of fulfilling their need for prey (love those pigeons) it's an obvious choice for them. Red tails won't set up a nest within 5 square miles of another red tail's nest. Time will tell.
From today's paper:
Home > News > Nation
Hawks evicted from Fifth Ave.
Nest's removal sparks outrage
By Verena Dobnik, Associated Press | December 9, 2004
NEW YORK -- They can't go home again, but two well-known red-tail hawks evicted from their nest atop a posh Fifth Avenue building were trying to do just that yesterday.
''I heard the cry of a hawk, I looked up, and I saw Lola, the female, soaring up Fifth Avenue," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, who visited the former site of the nest on a building where actress Mary Tyler Moore is among the residents.
Across the avenue, Lola's mate, Pale Male, was sighted in a Central Park tree.
''They were discombobulated, flying around in an agitated way," Benepe said. Lola was circling her former nest, carrying twigs to try to rebuild it. Later, her mate was seen perched in the tree with a pigeon he had caught.
The urban drama began to unfold Tuesday, in the rain, when workmen raised a scaffold to the top of the building and tore out the nest that lay over an arched cornice. The nest was anchored by spikes originally intended to keep pigeons from depositing their droppings. The workers removed the spikes too.
For the past nine years, thousands of bird lovers have come to see to the nest on the 12th-floor ledge that's been home to Pale Male, so named for his plumage. There, he fathered 25 chicks with a succession of mates -- the last three fledglings in June.
The hawks gained fame through television specials and a book, ''Red-Tails in Love."
The raptors are no strangers to city life, though they normally nest in trees. There is no previous record of a pair taking up permanent residence on a high-rise building.
The birds are not merely a spectacle of nature, however, said Alex Matthiessen, executive director of the Riverkeeper environmental organization. They are natural predators, helping limit the rat population in Central Park.
Bird watchers and neighbors were angry and dismayed by the nest's destruction, which apparently was ordered by the building's co-op board.
Brown Harris Stevens Property Management Services issued a statement yesterday saying that they do not own the property and had acted ''on behalf of the cooperative building owners in a management capacity. . . . The building researched and carried out the removal of the nest during an inactive period as a safety precaution."
''What strikes me is the selfishness of a small group of residents who are scarcely affected, but have robbed thousands of people, including children, of the pleasure of these magnificent birds, right by Central Park," Matthiessen said. ''These animals are a wonderful show of how nature can exist in the city. This was a violent, disruptive act."
But there was not much parks authorities or environmentalists could do: Unless a nest contains hatching eggs or small chicks, it is not illegal to remove it from private property.
Benepe said he hopes other residents of the area erect their own antipigeon spikes, perhaps luring Pale Male and Lola to build a new nest. ''Hopefully, there will be a more receptive welcoming board," Benepe said.
© Copyright 2004 Globe Newspaper Company.
An update: among the residents of the building is Mary Tyler Moore, who seems to be a freind of the hawks. Other residents include CNN's Paula Zahn and her husband Richard Cohen. Both Ms Zahn and Mr Cohen are members of the building co-op's governing board. Mr Cohen sits as that board's president.