This morning Lola flew with two unidentified hawks for 45 minutes very high over The MSB Pond. During this time Pale sat on the nest showing no signs of concern. The two hawks may have been young, and except for a few close encounters their flying didn't seem too confrontational. There were at least six nest breaks with the last one very late in the evening. Today's food was mostly rats - Sunday March 19, 2006
Pale Male & Lola have begun mating for the 2006 season.
Mating first observed at 10:59AM on Sunday February 5th
Saturday Feb 25th: Pale Male & Lola spent 90% of the day (10:30AM - 6:00PM) on the Eastside today. During this time I observed 6 matings on various spots along Fifth Ave. Lola put twigs and pieces of fibrous bark on the nest.
Pale Male Jr & Charlotte also observed mating at Columbus Circle since last week.
Pale Male & Lola very active today; On The Beresford, on their nest, and at The MET.
Monday Jan 16, 2006
Today Pale Male & Lola were out having fun in the strong winds. They continue to tolerate a youngster in their space. Today this young RTH looked like he just discovered his ability to kite (standing apparently still in mid air) and he was getting me dizzy with it.
Sunday Jan 15, 2006
Pale Male and Lola according to emails I received throughout the week are both visiting the nest and hanging out together. My visit today did not lead me to any sightings. Granted it was very rainy --all self-respecting birds were hidden away.
Saturday Jan 14, 2006
Since the day is fading to black when you get out of work...thought I would update you on some of yesterday’s highlights. First, there is a beautiful Grey Eastern Screech Owl, with huge ears, living in a London Plane tree (between the fellow with the grey, curly hair who feeds the birds...and Bow Bridge....heading from the bird feeder's bench to Bow bridge on your right there is a lone large boulder and a London Plane tree directly behind it....the hole is only 8 feet up and the little owl was basking in the afternoon sun. He shimmered beautiful silver in the strong noon light. A Cooper's Hawk landed in a tree nearby and sat for a while in full view before heading for the feeders. Then at Turtle Pond I saw many Red-Tail Hawks, at least 4, maybe 5 individuals....a family reunion? There was no evident hostility. Of course, there was PM and Lola...Lola took off for parts unknown but PM was the master of his domain. Flying from his favorite tree to the top of the Belvedere's flagpole and back to his favorite tree. Then just before sunset he flew to a tree near the edge of the pond on a limb overhanging the water (where people folk dance, near the Polish King). About 30 mallards gathered under him honking loudly and then they stayed underneath him but remained completely silent. Strange. I left PM as darkness set in...he was most likely looking for a late rat snack before turning in for the evening.
Thursday Dec 1, 2005
Pale Male sitting on the corner tower of The Beresford, 211 CPW Monday June 20, 2005
Wednesday October 19, 2005:
Almost daily nest visits by both hawks reported still. Pale Male seen today on his Turtle Pond tree. Lola on The Beresford.
Sunday September 25, 2005:
After spending all day in The Ramble fruitlessly searching for Pale Male & Lola, I was informed that he spent “several hours” sitting on his nest at 927 5th
Sunday September 18, 2005:
Rik Davis (the photographer at The MSB Pond) tells me that Pale Male & Lola were on the nest today. Lola carried a twig with her.
Tuesday September 13, 2005:
Pale Male & Lola are very much around but are difficult to find. I still get reports of them and once in a while I bump into them. My work hours during the week are preventing more searching time, but even last weekend I was unable to find any of them.
Friday September 9, 2005
Both Pale Male & Lola continue to frequent The Beresford Saturday Aug 20, 05:
Pale Male very active in The Ramble--caught a Blue Jay and ate the whole thing. Lola called on at least two occasions not too far away but I never got a visual on her.
Thursday August 18, 2005
Pale Male and Lola are still going strong on The Upper Eastside. Their nest is still intact even if their eggs did not produce young this year. Maggie and Charlie are their grandchildren hatched to Pale Male's son (PM Jr.) and daughter-in-law. I have not given up on Pale Male & Lola; because I have just a few hours after work I spend most of it on Junior's nest near Central Park South. On weekends I make the time to visit Pale Male and Lola's area of the park. I spent several hours with Pale Male in the Ramble just last Sunday: (see August 14th pics)
?Monday August 8, 2005:
Pale Male caught a pigeon and ate it on a Pilgrim Hill tree close to The East Drive. When he was done he jumped to another branch and went to sleep for the night.
Saturday Aug 6, 2005:
I had no luck finding Pale Male & Lola this afternoon at The MSB Pond nor The Ramble. Randon sightings from other people. One person saw him near 79th Street on Friday evening.
Wednesday August 3, 05:
Received a report this evening that both Pale Male & Lola are still visiting the Beresford. Will try to make it up to our regular nest soon.
Monday August 1, 2005:
Pale Male & Lola are regularly seen on their favorite perches on The Upper Eastside. On Saturday afternoon they were both seen on their original nest milling around. I spend as much time as I can photographing and observing Junior's territory.
Saturday July 16, 05:
Random reports of Pale Male &/or Lola sitting on Linda and various spots aroung the Model Sailboat Pond. The few hours I have after work are spent on Junior's nest. Later in the evening I get to see Pale Male and Lola either on the Stovepipe Building or The Oreo TV antenna.
Thursday July 14, 05
I have not seen Pale Male & Lola since last Tuesday evening. Of course I only have only a few hours or so to look for them after coming to the park from work. I am sure they are doing well and enjoying each other's company. Maybe the heat of the past few days gets them soaring really high. Either way I still feel them close and I'll continue looking out for them. Watching the other animals help pass the time until they make themselves more visible.
Monday July 11, 05
Yesterday Pale Male & Lola were both seen at the Model Sailboat Pond (the usualy perches); Pale Male at The Stovepipe Building (which for some three weeks now has lost its stovepipes...building probably went from oil heat to gas or something, who knows?) and Lola was on The Oreo TV antenna.
Wed July 6, 2005 9:00PM
I took advantage of relaxing on the end of a bench that had just been vacated by a young couple still in the amiable stage of their relationship. Their prior playful activities had dried all the rainwater off my seat and backrest, and warmed it sufficiently so I could even lean back to admire the sleeping Mallard family. The ducklings since last night had taken favorably to their temporary floating platform and looked very safe and comfortable on it. Most people passing by stopped to admire the mother with her wings over the eight little ones.
One little girl about 12" tall sporting a sundress and a bob haircut brought up the rear as she passed by with her mother and two other women. She inquired only whether or not she could swim in the water. When she was told that the pond was not for swimming she asked if there were alligators in there. Needless to say the ducklings escaped her imaginative mind.
There were several occasions when I counted the seconds measuring the periods when I was absolutely alone at The Pond with neither a dog walker nor lost Boathouse patron to break the stillness of the foggy evening—those few moments I relished. A small round spider insisted that my arm was more favorable to attaching a strand of his silk than the small limb of Azalea reaching over my shoulder which I tried fruitlessly to transfer him onto. When I gently disagreed to be bonded, I found another spider making his light stepping way across my other arm, only this one was many times smaller than the first. I transported the latter by way of his unseen silk harness over to what I decreed it’s parent and went over to another bench. All the while, I should mention, I was closely scrutinized by a firefly that hovered inches away from my face.
By the time I examined the floating platform on the pond once more I noticed a lot of movement under the steady upright mother. After many stretching and wiggling the entire bunch of hooligans plopped themselves one by one into the water and swam away with their mother in the lead. I was unable to attract mom with a few raw peanuts which I tossed toward her, but was never disappointed with her refusal. The ducklings as far as I could make out in the dim light found the pond’s surface bountiful with food which I imagine were tiny insects and bugs. Up the hill toward 72nd Street a robin protested constantly. I followed its cry and made my way home. I let myself out on Fifth Avenue and instantly lost all the soothing sounds of the animals in the park to the noisy traffic racing down the Avenue. I bid them all a good night, and I cannot wait for my next visit to be charmed, amused and inspired by their beautiful noises once again.
Wed July 6, 2005 12:55AM
For the last hour it was raining slightly but now it has begun to pour. I know the ducklings have a little shelter up at The Boat Pond, but the Trump Parc Hawks are getting a beating right now. It’s the middle of their sleep time and I know they must be awake and drenched. The only way for me to tell it’s raining here is the sound of the steady stream from a gutter outlet just outside my kitchen window. The sharp tinny beats of the direct raindrops on my air-condition unit outside my bedroom window also lets me know how much it’s raining. Except for that it’s dry and cool in my apartment.
There must also be a few carriage horses still on Central Park South--drivers desperately trying to get some late night romantic couples. But now it’s a hopeless night for business and the animals are probably being forced to race down 9th Avenue to go back into their cramped stables.
I heard fireworks again late this evening after I checked in on the ducklings at The Boat Pond. I guess July 4th was not enough. Maybe some very influential person heard how the smoke blacked out the skyline yesterday and wanted to see it for themselves tonight, so they paid for an encore. Maybe the hawks are asleep. Perhaps they went into ‘rain mode’. And it may be possible that the horses are not as uncomfortable as I imagine—they may be seeing a beautiful green field just up ahead in the distance--so this folly of man to keep them enslaved is easily tolerated. The animals in the Central Park Zoo must also be listening to the raindrops beating on the trees or on the roofs of their cages which may be awakening some deep seeded memory inside them of another place on earth from where they were ripped away. Now they sit quietly in their cages not too far away from Fifth Avenue but far away enough that the odor of their defecation does not assail the residents of that pristine neighborhood.
For now I’ll listen to the drumming of the raindrops outside my window to help fall sleep myself. I’ll hope and wish that after I close my eyes I’ll get some small vision of what all those animals see in their future that keep them from revolting against all the injustices we bestow on them each day. And I’ll dream of being there with them some day after I escape this world sans humanite.
Monday July 4, 05
Scattered reports of Pale Male & Lola on The Beresford. No reported sightings on The Eastside.
Junior's nest was moderately active. At least one baby has begun exercising wings somewhat. Charlotte had two visits while I watched (12:30 PM - 3:30 PM).
Sunday July 3, 05:
Pale Male & Lola seen together on The Oreo. Later Lola spend the last hour or so of the day on Linda #1.
Monday June 20, 05
Today is the first day I've made it up to The Beresford to see what's going on with PM&L. I ripped myself away from Pale Male Jr's nest this evening to visit the CPW situation. Many passers-by at the 81st Street entrance were delighted to hear about PM&L's activities on their side of the woods. Junior's chicks grew considerably bigger and darker since Saturday.
Sunday June 19, 05 (Father's Day)
Saw Pale Male for an hour or so on The Oreo TV Antenna (79th St) being harassed by a single Mocking Bird. Later in the evening closer to Sunset I saw either Pale Male or Lola fly relatively low over The Boat Pond heading North.
Saturday June 18, 05
There are reports/rumors that Pale Male & Lola are seen apparently putting twigs on The Beresford, 211 Central Park West at 81st Street. I’ll check it out soon and try to get photos.
Monday June 6, 2005
Pale Male & Lola were seen mating at 7:15PM on Saturday evening. They attempted mating on The Carlyle Sunday evening but flew off to find another more comfortable location.
Thursday June 2, 2005:
No sign of either hawk all evening until about 8:30PM I noticed one heading in toward Pilgrim Hill.
Wednesday June 1, 2005:
This evening just as I was beginning to get downhearted about not seeing either hawk for two days in a row, Pale Male flew down Fifth Avenue and onto The Nest at 7:33 PM. He was soon joined by Lola. Both Hawks spent a considerable time in the nest before Pale Male flew onto the top edge of the window just north of the nest and fiddled between the non-lethal pigeon deterrents that line the tops of both window frames. On closer inspection I noticed he was attempting to install a twig between the deterrents. After working there for several minutes he flew directly over to the south window top and spent some time there also. After a while he rejoined Lola in the nest and they both remained occupied. My only means of observation was my 8X binoculars. After a half hour or so they perched on various buildings briefly then both put on an air show over the 72nd Street entrance at Fifth Ave. They disappeared further north of 79th Street as the darkness fell.
Monday May 30, 2005:
Pale Male & Lola can be seen daily at The Model Sailboat Pond, though not as much as they should be for this time of the year. A surprising turn of events is that they are mating again. No one knows what will happen from this unbelievable occurrence, all we can do is watch and wait. I have already come to grips with this year's mishap. Seeing them so much together and so intimate is now taking away most of the gloom that has been hanging around The Bench over the past month and more.
I trust nature to produce what she wants from these birds but I'm not going to make any unreasonable wishes.
About two weeks ago I caught a glimpse of Lola's belly as she got up from the eggs and preened-it was red as fire. This may be normal I'm sure; nevertheless I don't want to wish for anything that will take a toll on the health of these precious creatures.
Babies or not, they are going to continue to inspire me for the rest of my life. And I know they'll always bring a smile each day to all of us who took the time to discover and rediscover the beauty of Pale Male and all other animals everywhere.
Seeing them mate today certainly reminds me that I am not the director or writer of this grand masterpiece we call life, but I am quite contented and extremely grateful to be blessed with a tiny bit part in it.
Saturday May 28, 2005
At 5:06 PM on Saturday May 29, 2004 the first of three baby hawks found himself/herself floating up above the nest when a gust of wind blew it up and forced it to fledge three or four days before it would have been ready. It came to a safe landing even if it strayed off north unseen for hours sometime later.
Today Pale Male & Lola flew over The Pond late in the evening, They were hardly seen earlier in the afternoon. This week would have been the prime viewing period when we watch the babies get ready to fledge. In the days ahead I would have been out at 5:00 AM in the Park watching for any possible early morning fledging. There are worst disasters in the world--bigger disappointments, even life and death situations that would easily overshadow this. But to me, a big piece of happiness was yanked out of my heart, and now I can only gnaw away impatiently at time until the next cycle of happiness comes around. I am extremely grateful that Pale Male & Lola are still healthy, and I would keep looking up at them as I impatiently await this wretched year to go by.
Wednesday May 25, 2005
Seventh Avenue glistened with the light steady rain that began some two hours before. I watched a carriage drawn by a small black horse whipped as it ran through amber lights at the 57th Street intersection. The animal twisted and pulled in its harness and behaved wayward. The driver of the carriage yanked back on the reins and yelled at the horse in an abusive tone. I stopped on the sidewalk to watch him. The man continued to shout at the horse in a thick indiscernible Irish accent. I watched the carriage disappear down into the abyss of colored lights of Times Square.
Across the avenue at Carnegie Hall a graduation ceremony was letting out and the sidewalk was crowded with gleaming faces of graduates and their family posing for pictures and spilling onto the roadway. I wondered if anyone else saw the horse and the treatment it received. I remembered the strong voice of a carriage owner I spoke to several months ago who announced with great confidence “These carriage horses will be here forever...they’ll never get rid of them!” Right then I recalled another voice that cried out with just as much confidence...“The hawk’s nest will not be successful this year...maybe next year!” The latter remark I despised and scorned so much that I looked forward to the moment I would prove them wrong.
I stood on Seventh Avenue in a pool of scum oozing out of the garbage in front of Tratatoria Del Arte and removed my hood. I immediately felt the sting of the cold sharp raindrops on my face as I looked at two NYPD vehicles waiting to trap west-bound motorists as they make illegal left turns on Seventh. I wondered if any of those cops would be feeling sorry for the horse tethered to its carriage and forced to draw it down into the heavy traffic of Times Square. I looked at the swarm of new grads and wondered if any of them were going to see what I saw when I look at horses pulling carriages while people drink champagne inside them. I watched two women by the subway entrance sucking down cigarettes in a hurry before they caught their train, and I wondered if the sight of an innocent animal being denied its freedom did anything to them. I watched a massive billboard on a building closer to Broadway of a young girl advertising jeans, and wondered if I’d ever live to see the day a sign in its place that says “Please Set Those Animals Free!”
Somewhere in my wondering the voice of the carriage owner came back to me and reminded me of how few of my wishes would ever come true.
I continued up Seventh and thought of who and what I am. After reflecting deeply on those questions I felt much the worse for the predicament of the animals I worry so much about.
Monday May 23, 05
Pale Male & Lola has given up on sitting on the eggs. When Lola gave up early last week, Pale Male continued for the most part until after last weekend they are no longer spending any considerable amount of time on the nest. Both hawks are doing very well and can be seen in all their favorite perches and a lot of time they are perched right next to each other. No one knows what happened. One main reason for this year's disappointment is obvious, but I truly believed that they would pull through it. We are at the mercy of a handful of people who are blinded by the environment in which they live. The lethal spikes which remain installed on the balcony of the 12th floor shows that Mr & Mrs Harold Winters still harbor wickedness in their hearts toward these innocent creatures. After a certain point of begging and demanding and crying for the right thing to be done, one has to just sit back and watch and wait
Saturday May 21, 05
After a full day of not sitting on the nest (Friday), Pale Male resumed sitting today. I saw him all afternoon with an occasional visit from Lola.
Up until I left The Pond at 10:00 PM tonight (Thursday) Lola had not returned to The Nest.
Wednesday May 18, 2005
Pale Male is doing the bulk of nest sitting for the last few days. Lola is still overnighting in the nest. The two birds were performing aerial acts today which to my knowledge is unusual.
Some three weeks ago I walked west along 33rd Street toward 9th Avenue and somewhere in the middle of the block I found a pigeon poised under the threshold of an enormous gateway with a small bit of straw in her mouth. Sometimes it’s hard to single out a pigeon especially on a block like that, but I studied her for a while as the 9 O’clock workers scuttled past me. On my left was the General Post Office—a sprawling structure running a solid avenue long and two blocks wide. Behind me, and all the way front for blocks and blocks there was only concrete—not a puddle of water and not a scrap of vegetation. Freight trucks lined the roadway, and busses moved in a tight stream toward 9th Avenue. As for food, the asphalt was barren and there was not even a promising garbage can about, except for two steel ash-trays overflowing with pungent cigarette butts. On either side on the puny pigeon there were large delivery trucks parked in a massive loading dock with their noisy engines running. Millions of dollars of goods and materials were within yards of this small pigeon whose only business was to hold that bit of straw firmly in its beak and transport it to some place it had sought out to build her nest. Men in suits, some in overalls, women in high heels, some in steel toed boots hurried to and fro, but the pigeon held its ground and contemplated its next move.
Her head was held high and proud, seemingly unmindful that as a pigeon she is widely hated, and that her fellow pigeons are spitted on, kicked at, poisoned, considered pests, without any law offering the smallest crumb of protection. I’m wondering now if the Post Office ever even put a picture of a pigeon on a stamp—seeing that they played such a big part in mail delivery at one time. I myself had to hurry off to work to execute my day of labor, to mindlessly meet an end which I have no use for. But amidst the rush, confusion and turmoil for my daily wage, which appears and disappears without ever crossing my palm, I wish that I could find a small bit of straw to hold in my mouth and face the soulless machinery of modern life with the same fortitude of that puny pigeon and only then will I consider myself a being worthy to tread in the path of that small wonderful animal.
As I walk through the streets and avenues of New York City and is diminutized by the gigantic heartless buildings, and as I look into the zombied faces of our electronically isolated citizens, it helps to see pigeons and sparrows lighting up the cold, insincere billboards, and the harsh demanding signs. These birds offer a pleasant whistle here and a handsome flutter there, as if to remind me that there is still some unadulterated, untainted and forever pure life form thriving contentedly amongst the phoniness that has become a way of life for so many of us.
On Thursday (May 19th) there will be a hearing about the Endangered Species Act. Hillary Clinton is one of the senators who is supposed to participate. Will you call her, as a constituent, and ask her to attend the hearing and support a strong Endangered Species Act? That's all you have to say, a fragment of a sentence: "Senator Clinton, please attend the Endangered Species Act hearing and support a strong Endangered Species Act."
Here is the phone number: (202) 224-4451.
***Story from The Boston Globe..destruction of a RTH nest that may have had eggs in it
For openers, Sox vs. the red hawks By Douglas Belkin, Globe Staff | April 10, 2005
It's bad enough that Fenway Park fans could get bonked on the head by a foul ball. For a while there, it appeared they'd have a swooping hawk to worry about as well when the world champion Sox come back to town tomorrow.
Several employees at Fenway began noticing the red-tailed hawks a couple of weeks ago when they saw the raptors flying over the field with twigs in their mouths. They said they spotted a nest the hawks had built under the WEEI sign just above the .406 club.
''It was kind of cool to watch them," said Andrew Merle, who works in the Red Sox front office.
Someone apparently removed the hawks' nest two weeks ago, but team officials aren't talking about who did it. By April 1, all that was left of the nest were twigs strewn across the catwalk and over the netting above home plate.
Charles Steinberg, Red Sox executive vice president for public affairs, said that he had seen the hawks but that neither he nor Red Sox chief executive Larry Lucchino knew anything about the nest or what happened to it.
In March 2002, the same pair of hawks built a nest in almost the same spot, said Tom French, assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife. The female, protecting her nest, attacked three or four people in the park, sending two of them to the emergency room and prompting one to get stitches.
''They strafe people," said French. ''They come down from behind and make a low pass and strafe across the top of your scalp with their talons. . . . I tell workmen working around nests to paint eyes on the back of their hard hats, and they'll usually not touch you."
French said he had not been contacted by the Red Sox about the new nest. If there are no eggs laid, the nest can legally be removed and destroyed.
''If the nest is empty, the best thing to do is get rid of it," French said. ''They'll still have plenty of time to build a new one."
But once the eggs are laid, the Red Sox would be mandated to wait for the chicks to hatch, French said, citing environmental protection laws. If the nest were removed when it had eggs, the team could be fined thousands of dollars.
''I don't know about a nest, and I know nothing about eggs," Steinberg said.
Earlier this year in New York, there was a huge public outcry when the board of a Fifth Avenue co-op, whose tenants include actress Mary Tyler Moore and CNN anchor Paula Zahn, removed a hawk's nest from a 12th-story ledge, calling it a hazard.
The ensuing furor prompted the board to restore a row of anti-pigeon spikes that the hawks had used to anchor the nest. The hawks immediately rebuilt their nest, and last month, in an accomplishment trumpeted in headlines as far away as Ireland, it was reported that the pair have successfully laid up to three eggs.
The birding community in Boston meanwhile, has been closely monitoring the progress of a pair of red-tailed hawks who built a nest on an 11th-story ledge on the southwest corner of 6 Beacon Street above the Granary Burial Ground. Office workers around the city with a view of the nest have watched the pair's progress for months.
''A couple of weeks ago, we saw them copulating on the weather vane of the [Park Street] church," said Sue Sherry, who has a 10th-story office in a building on Winter Street about three blocks from the nest. ''There's a piece of caution tape I literally watched her weave into the nest. It's a totally urban bird."
After the eggs are laid, it takes about 30 days for them to incubate and hatch. While the female incubates the eggs, the males, which are smaller and faster, do most of the hunting. When the chicks hatch, the females start to hunt.
Linaris Casillas, a receptionist at a law firm in the office where the nest is built, said the Boston birds, nicknamed Mr. and Mrs. Hawkenridge by one of the lawyers in the office, said she checks the progress of the nest every day.
''She just stares up at you, and I'll tell you what, she's pretty scary-looking," Casillas said. ''I have her picture on my camera phone."
© Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company
A reporter from The Boston Globe told me that on Thursday March 31st (last week) a red tail hawk's nest was destroyed in Fenway Park.
I have just loose details of the incident. According to him, the Fish and Wildlife Servive approved it. As we all know even with that nasty 'memorandum' that was issued in 2003 claiming that nests are only considered 'active' if there are eggs or chicks in it, that March 31st certainly makes it highly possible that there were eggs in it. What actually happened with this nest I can only guess until I learn more. I know that Baseball is much more important than life on Earth and I can see the need for destroying anything that will get in the way of this wonderful pastime.
Sunday April 3, 05
All is well in the nest after the long rainy spell this weekend. Around 2:30PM both hawks left the nest unattended for a few minutes and flew together just west of the MSB Pond.
Saturday April 2, 05
Sometime just after 2PM today I crossed Fifth Ave at 72nd Street and saw, through the dense leafless branches, that there was something on one of the windows high up on the corner building on the east side of the road--something with a broad white belly and the unmistakable poise of my familiar friend. I paused in the middle of the roadway and photographed the avenue that narrowed into a sharp point all the way uptown before spending a few minutes to admire him from the sidewalk below. I gently detached a woman from my attention who since Madison Avenue attempted to engage me in talk of her misery for not taking her dog to some competition heeding the warning of the weather report which appeared thus far to be dead wrong. I anchored myself against the Central Park wall and did my best to photograph Pale Male sitting quietly on the window rail above me. From every vantage point all along my walk toward the Hawk Bench I stopped and tried to sight Lola in her nest but could not make out even a shape with my 8X binoculars—the drizzling rain worsened my visibility. I spotted Yuma and his mother at The Alice In Wonderland Statue. Yuma is a 7 year old birder and an avid Pale Male & Lola fan. After a few minutes we decided to head up to 102nd Street to see the screech owls. We delayed our walk to watch Lola eat her lunch on a tall tree on the inclined sidewalk leading north of the Boathouse Restaurant. Yuma said that we should take a bus but I convinced him it will be more fun to trek through the muddy park. The rain came down hard and most of the paths were flooded. As we approached Cleopatra’s Needle an immature Red Tail perched in a tree just east of the monument and then flew over our heads, circled and headed back west. We sheltered for a short while at The North Meadow Recreation Center then before heading for The Pool at 102nd Street I pointed out Pale Male III’s nest. An adult Red Tail was in the area but no nest building observed. The nest is still very small but promising nevertheless. The rain pounded down on us but after a certain threshold no more wetness could be felt. Yuma said his boots felt like there was a river inside them, but he insisted that it was not because he stomped through ever puddle he could find along the way—he reasoned that the water must have entered from the soles. He wanted to know why the water was yellow and why there were earthworms on the ground. As I attempted to answer his many questions I envied his innocence and I tried to put as much honesty into my answers as her did in his questions. At The Pool we saw two domesticated ducks and a few mallards but no owls. They must have roosted in a tree deeper inside The North Woods, but the heavy rain had taken a toll on us and we decided to head for home. I stared into the woods and tried to imagine where those fuzzy little creatures were sleeping. I consoled myself that they are quite capable of sheltering themselves from weather like this and much worse—surely they’ve been doing it for thousands of years. Even so, I wish I could put some tiny umbrellas over their fuzzy little heads and wrap them snug in thick dry towels and read them stories until the weather breaks and the sun comes shining out.
Friday April 1, 05
Thank you for all the letters and calls complimenting my photography. I appreciate it all—this sort of thing fuels my passion. It’s very difficult, may even be deceitful, for me to show only the beautiful images that I see in NYC each day. As we watch the cute owls stretch and get ready for a night’s hunting, Canadian fishermen are bashing in the heads of baby seals for their skin. At work this week I watched recent footage of these seals--video showing them actually running toward their killers as if to play, only to be met with a vicious blow to the head with a heavy metal rod. While the animal is still alive its belly is slit open and its bleeding, disemboweled body dragged to a waiting boat. Stop The Seal Hunt Website If Canada is too far away for you to hear the sound of innocent animals getting their skulls cracked open to harvest their skin, then right here in Manhattan the Circus is in town. Dozens of elephants, lions, tigers etc., are enslaved to perform unnatural acts so children and adults can be delighted with this sad and unforgivable form of entertainment. If Madison Square Garden is too far away for you to see these depressed animals worked to death either from hard labor or depression, you may encounter a carriage horse further uptown pulling a wagon filled with tourists across 59th Street. What you may not notice though, is that Central Park is continuing to poison our rats again. In my opinion this is a nasty method of attempting to control an animal that hardly anyone wants to take the time to appreciate and/or understand. If we cannot eat them, or wear their furs then we proclaim them unworthy of life on this planet. I’ll continue to post beautiful pictures—like the one of the squirrel smiling, but I alone will look at the one of the squirrel near the carousel last year that someone’s dog left crippled. I won’t post the picture of the cygnet with a fishhook lodged in its bill or the flicker that crashed into the MET’s glass wall. I won’t even post the picture of the tired, confused horse caught in traffic up 8th Avenue, foaming at the mouth as its driver constantly yanked its head back. We may not be able to get all the thoughtless dog owners to leash their dogs, and we may not have the power to go up against the carriage horse owners, or the insensitive people that patronize them, and we may not be able to convince Central Park that they should ban all ‘just for fun’ fishing in its lakes and ponds but good God! we can surely get them to stop poisoning the rats. If not for the welfare of this universally hated fellow mammal, at least for the fact that our raptors run the risk of getting hurt if they consume one that was poisoned. Central Park claims that ‘the poison used has no secondary effect on animals’. I believe this statement is in keeping with ‘Pale Male’s nest weighed 400lbs’. I think they should be told that rodents can be better controlled if the hot dog vendors do not dump their waste out on the ground at the end of the day. You don’t have to be a genius to realize that the rats are coming after food. When the various food outlets improperly dispose of their waste the rats thrive. Even uncontrolled feeding of ducks and squirrels--I am guilty of this last offence, but I try always to make sure the animals that I feed consume all that I toss at them. In fact it is never enough. There are people, though well meaning, who gather large bags of bread and bird food and scatter it carelessly about the ground, sometimes even if there are no animals there. I believe that there are more sensible ways to address a rodent problem before poisoning is used. I don't believe myself to be an ‘Animal Rights Nut’. I am just a person who sees a horrible injustice all around me and just cannot stay silent. Pale Male & Lola and every other animal in this city have so much to contend with as it is, without having to deal with these selfish ineffective techniques.
Nest Site Update Sunday March 13, 2005 Mating must have stopped...none observed all weekend. Lola appears to be turning the eggs every half hour or so. Pale Male had two sittings today between noon and sunset. He roosted in the Pilgrim Hill Pin Oak tonight.
Received news from Pale Male Jr's nest on Trump Parc; they have begun incubation either yesterday (saturday) or today.
Nest Site Update Sat March 12, 2005 No matings observed today. Apart from a single 20 min or so period this afternoon, where the eggs were unattended, for the rest of the day through nightfall both hawks took turns constantly sitting on the nest--Lola spending 80% of the time on it.
Tues, Mar 8 (3:25 - 4:15pm) Blizzard conditions, heavy, horizontal snow falling...very poor visibility: Nest looked empty until 3:45pm when I saw Lola's head pop up from nest. Next minute, Pale Male materializes and flies to the northeast upper roof of Dr. Fisher's and looks to be eating, and/or preparing food. He flies to Lola on nest and presents food (which could not be identified). He stays only a minute and then flies to Linda #1. Lola appears to be feeding. At 4:10pm Pale Male flies off Linda heading north along 5th Avenue treeline. Lola remains in nest. I leave park at 4:15pm. Believe Lola was in nest during all of my short 45 minutes viewing time.
Note from Ken: Monday March 7, 05
"If previous statistics hold true, the RedTail Hawks on Fifth Avenue should begin incubating eggs sometime this week. We will know that there is at least one egg (or more) when either adult stays in the nest over night. Today, at early twilight, while several hawk watchers were still there, PaleMale went to roost at the bottom of Pilgrim Hill. After all the other people had left, John Lattang and I saw Lola glide to another tree, higher on the same slope. Although it was almost too dark, I set up the telescope very near the spot for both of us to confirm that we could see her in the tree where she had chosen to sleep. Both adults hawks had a direct line of sight between each other and with the nest."
__ Kentaurian __
Nest Site Update Saturday March 5, 2005 Very frequent matings and lots of nest activity. Pale Male made an extremely lethal dive toward a flock of pigeons this evening but did not catch any. According to Marie they both roosted in the same tree near Cedar Hill late this evening.
Wed, Mar 2, 2005 (1:35pm - 5:15pm): Observed both Pale Male and Lola taking twigs from trees along Fifth Avenue and bringing them to the nest. Both made numerous visits to the nest with/without twigs. They mated twice on Linda #1 after which they sat close together on the window railing. Have noticed that the length of time at each mating, both yesterday and today, appears to be for a noticeably longer length of time.... to a 5-count....in contrast to all previous observed matings since their inception on Feb 12. No peregrine falcons sighted on today's watch.
Tuesday, March 1st - Around 3:45pm, as two Peregrine Falcons came into PaleMale's view, he flew off the Fisher building and circled over the Model Boat Pond. I was sitting in a quiet corner of the park, so I could see and hear PaleMale gently calling to Lola. She was on the Linda building, his call did not sound alarming but curiously reassuring. Contrary to the last time a Peregrine came by, she stayed still during the entire encounter.
PaleMale soared solo in circles. He was gliding north and they were flapping south. He seemed to present a languid defense as they all converged. His technic in this encounter with two Peregrines was very different than the last; I have seen him do this with a mob of Crows.
PaleMale presented himself as an easy target, he flew close enough to the Peregrines to get them to dive at him, even to the point of almost being hit. After a few scarey passes, PaleMale seemed to calculate their speed, angle and style. During the next several attacks, PaleMale spun, tumbled, turned and recovered at the last split second with deliberate intention. He was then directly behind and above the attacker, in a perfect position to counter punch but calmly awaited the second falcon's dive. Had these been Crows, I have seen him use this method to pick one off after another, up to 15 to 20 of them, smacked from the rear.
With the Peregrines, he let them take their best shot and because they kept missing him, he gained the upper hand. The Peregrine pair abandoned their attack and were sternly escorted further south by PaleMale. As they left his terrirory, he perched at 71st and Fifth to watch them go.
Ten minutes later, PaleMale flew back to Lola. She lowered her body to receive him and he landed on top of her. While mating, PaleMale's call sounded much louder, more clear and, to me, mirthfully tiumphant.
__ Kentaurian __
Tues, Mar 1 (2:30 - 5:05pm): Little action until 3:45 when Pale Male encountered one, and then two peregrine falcons above the nest. An intense aerial "dog-fight" went on for several minutes as the two falcons took turns diving at very high speed at Pale Male. Eventually, Pale drove them off but it was quite alarming for the hawk watchers standing helplessly by. I have usually seen Lola join in driving off attacking or intruding birds but she sat on Linda #3 facing toward the window. About 20 minutes later Pale Male joined her there and mated with her. Pale Male then flew to the nest and starting moving and checking the sticks and twigs. At 4:45 Pale Male flew to Lola at Linda #3 and mated again....they sat there side by side as I left the park at 5:05pm.
Nest Site Update Sunday February 27, 2005 Several matings sighted. Very brief nest visits and no aerial displays.
Nest Site Update Saturday February 26, 2005 Saw two matings this afternoon. Not a lot of nest activity but it is well populated with material. It was a beautiful, mild day in The Park.
Note from Ken:
Wednesday Feb 23, 2005 - As young and old visitors enjoyed looking through the scope at the new nest today, a Red-Tailed Hawk suddenly appeared diving straight toward us with it wings pulled in against its body - as the RedTail got about 20 ft away, a white bird came from behind us at maybe 10 ft over our heads - the RTH and the other bird almost collided 14 ft over the Model Boat Pond.
The large white bird veered sharply to the right as the RedTail, spread for an impact, feet forward, wings and tail very wide, recovered composure and flew back out of sight. The white bird was a Gull and the RedTail's dive did not look like a hunt but rather a defensive maneuver. We were all, stunned, happy and confounded.
Right after that both PaleMale and Lola were visible for a good while in today's very clear blue sky when a third raptor flew up Fifth Avenue, passing in front of the nest building. This intruder was about the size of a Crow, had sharply tappered wings, a tight narrow tail and rapid wing beats - it was a Peregrine Falcon! Within seconds it was surrounded - Lola high above to the right and PaleMale diving at it from the left - with each pass the RedTails preserved their own energy and made no direct contact but stayed on opposite sides of the Peregrine, flying at it, forcing it to evade them and eventually fly south again from where it came.
__ Kentaurian __
Nest Site Update Sunday/Monday February 20/21, 2005 Lots of mating on several buildings. The nest is very large; hundreds of branches and twigs woven into it. Every moment spent watching Pale Male & Lola is so precious. So wonderful to watch true freedom before me. So wonderful to see them use the earth and wind thoughfully and without waste. I bet the trees sees them coming and they cry 'Pick me! Pick me! I want to be part of your nest! I want to help provide you with all I have to see you prosper.' And even if the trees can't fly they must share in the freedom that Pale Male & Lola displays. Maybe that's why they sway so contentedly in the wind. Maybe that is why they make sure there are no leaves on their branches around this time--so every branch can get to see the beauty of the Red Tails.
Nest Site Update Saturday February 19, 2005 Beautiful day today, and though Pale Male and Lola were not constantly making themselves visible they were still very present making a trip to the nest here, and a perch on the buildings there. One mating episode on the 71st Street TV antenna brought a round of applause from all. Wonderful views of the Moon and Saturn closed the evening of viewing.
Nest Site Update Tuesday February 15, 2005 , "Pale Male and Lola (mat)ing at the Oreo building on 79th St and twice on top of Dr. Fisher's. They sat close together on Oreo and Lola was observed preening Pale Male around the head. They made several long, graceful aerial displays. At 5:15 Pale Male roosts in his favorite tree on Pilgrim Hill, looking a little pooped. The rare Mary Tyler Moore "bird" observed briefly at the Hawk Bench looking through Rik's telescope! Best overheard descriptions of the Gates: "laundry day at the Tibetan monastary" and "a car wash on steroids". Love it."
Nest Site Update Sunday February 13, 2005 Several matings observed. Even if it was a very sunny day, something was not right with the atmosphere which made it bad for photography. All my shots came out poor (that's my excuse anyway).
Nest Site Update Saturday February 12, 2005 FINALLY! At 1:45 PM Pale Male & Lola were seen mating on the TV antenna of The Oreo Building (at 79th Street). They were very active in the nest and elsewhere in the Park.