Saturday, June 23, 2007


Photograph by Robert Schmunk of
Where you can go for Rob's report on the Cathedral Hawks for today. Winkie's report is below after the continuation of THE PALE MALE NEST SYMPOSIUM

The New York City Audubon Society has been suggested by readers any number of times as the organization that might once again help Pale Male and Lola in their time of need.

NYC Audubon was one of the parties instrumental in getting events moving toward help for Pale Male and Lola in getting their nest site back in the cold days of winter 2004 when things looked very very bleak indeed. For one thing, it was Audubon's local staff who procured demonstration permits from the city so that the very effective protests could take place.

(Remember HONK FOR HAWKS anyone?)

Therefore when I sent out letters asking people to contribute their thoughts to THE PALE MALE NEST SYMPOSIUM, one went out to Yigal Gelb of the NYC Audubon staff . Yigal was out there many an evening protesting during those dark days, cheerfully passing out hand warmers, and standing solid with the rest of us.

Here is how Yigal responded to my note--

Hi Donna,

This is great! Hope we get some new perspectives.

Yes, NYC Audubon is eager to explore the possibility of introducing modifications to the nest structure with the building owners and managers. I would only emphasize that any solution we adopt would ultimately need to be based on sound science.

Though I'd heard through the grapevine, that Audubon was as always sympathetic and supportive concerning Pale Male and Lola's nest problems, and of course specifics would need to come from Director Glenn Phillips, Yigal's email was music to my ears and interestingly, a letter came in from Pam Greenwood that's right down the sound science alley Yigal was talking about---

Here is something I thought about last year after the nest failure. We are guessing about the physical properties of the cradle and the nest and spikes.

Why not build a model of it so someone can do some measurement and assessment. Could whoever built the cradle build another one? or provide the plans?

The spike heights are presumably known - there must a standard in pigeon spikes such that a sample could be obtained. Once a model cradle was obtained, spikes installed, and a "nest" constructed, some measurements could be made. That would also allow experimentation with mashing the spikes, or cutting the spikes inside the bowl of the nest, or eliminating the spikes, or other ideas.

Obviously the ideal would be to have the actual cradle and nest, but that does not seem to be possible politically I gather.

Pam Greenwood
Rockville, MD 20852

Here's the architect's web page concerning the cradle
Though as we all know, there are often small differences between a design and what actually ends up being the product after production issues. Also, for instance, it's very difficult to tell from the architect's website exactly what the spikes are like.

There are variations in pigeon spikes depending on the era in which they were made, who the manufacturer was and how they are installed. All relevant to our questions.

As the cradle itself cost many thousands of dollars, building another seems unlikely, but building a model or even perhaps having an engineer, if one would volunteer their time, (Hint!) to examine the original on 927, to take measurements, samples, find out the conduction properties of that particular metal, in that configuration, and whatever else might be relevant is a very good idea.

As to whether something is politically possible, you never know until you have your ducks in a row and ask, right?

So let's get our ducks in a row.

Is anyone out there an engineer willing to help us out?

Or to the rest of us, can you think of anyone you know who has the scientific or engineering expertise to check out the cradle and help Pale Male and Lola out of this nest problem?

Well, what are you waiting for? Pale Male and Lola need your help. Get to it!

More Symposium in the days to come!

NEXT UP today: Pale Male Irregular Winkie's report on the Cathedral Hawks--Tristan, Isolde, and their Eyasses: Tailbiter, Brownie/Cohort, and Third

With three of these critters, we need more eyes.
I have even recruited my husband who has no patience for the long watch. But he did report this morning, seeing two hawks high above the baseball field in Morningside Park.

My guess is that this has to be the parents as he said it was very high. To my knowledge, none of the young have started to soar.

Yesterday: Now, this is a good chapter for me! I finally go to see the second, my Cohort.(Rob Schmunk's Brownie, D.B.) It all started mundanely like most hawk watches and I was so late getting there with subway problems that I thought I was going to strike out.

It was about 8:00pm and had already rained. The sky was questionable. When I came up to the Plant Pavilion there was one of the fledges on the front on that mess of grill and railing. I couldn't get a look see from the angle unobstructed enough to tell which of the two it was. I could tell it was not Third.

Her crop was full and the young'n looked content. And no matter what view I got, I just couldn't tell which fledge this was. I scouted for others, no others, young or adult to be seen. I waited and watched for about 15 minutes. But the weather was rolling in the west and I knew that my time was limited before it hit.

The Fledge was now getting that weather radar too. She was getting active and very attentive to the quick change. Just as I thought she was going to out last me. She flew, like the proverbial bat outta, over the tree tops, way out over the dog run and turned north.

As she flashed by: I got a good look. It was Cohort with the dark, broad belly band. Yippee! She too, flies like a daemon.

I'm fairly sure that she set down somewhere around the 116th Street steps. There was a terrible commotion coming from many of the smaller birds. I exited at that point as I wanted to beat the lightning home.

By the way, absolutely do not miss Prima Hawkwatcher and author, Marie Winn's post for t0day, The Grounded Fledgling Affair at It is so beautifully done it literally made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end and my heart ache.

Donegal Browne

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