Sunday, July 08, 2007


Published: July 8, 2007
Pale Male’s Cronies

Stuart Goldenberg
Q. I thought I saw a hawk chasing a squirrel in Mount Morris Park in Harlem. We all know about Lola and Pale Male, but are there other hawks around the city?
A. Pale Male and Lola, the two persecuted red-tailed hawks outside the co-op at Fifth Avenue and 74th Street, have indeed gotten more publicity than Brangelina. But your question comes at a good time: New York City Audubon just did a special bird-of-prey census in May and June.

“Manhattan is no stranger to hawks,” said Colin F. Grubel, a spokesman for New York City Audubon. He said the census counted five nesting pairs in Manhattan, including Pale Male and Lola, and a possible sixth. People have reported a pair of red-tails around Harlem, but that hasn’t been confirmed, he said.

There are also peregrine falcons and American kestrels in Manhattan; peregrines are especially common in Manhattan, where they like high places near water. (Peregrine chicks hatched this year atop towers of the Verrazano-Narrows and Throgs Neck Bridges.)
Two known red-tailed hawk nests can be found in Brooklyn, Mr. Grubel said, at least three in the Bronx, at least four in Queens and at least four in Staten Island. In five cases in Queens, spotters have seen additional pairs but not their nests.

These counts do not include this year’s chicks, Mr. Grubel said, because fledglings have a high mortality rate, and they may leave the city for other territory. The nesting pairs are more committed residents.

The red-tails can often be seen in Central and Prospect Parks, Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx and Alley Pond Park in Queens.

“Ospreys are found in the waters of Jamaica Bay and around Staten Island, Pelham Bay Park in the Bronx and Alley Pond Park in Queens,” Mr. Grubel wrote. “Though none nest near Manhattan, an osprey has been seen flying over Central Park on occasion.”

And of course, our beloved Divine Red-tails, who nest on The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, may be found in Morningside Park.

Donegal Browne

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