Friday, July 17, 2009

Photograph courtesy of Alan Kleinber

The Red-tailed Hawk is sitting atop the statue in Gramercy Park, of the famous 19th century actor Edwin Booth. He donated his multistory brownstone, across the street from the park, for use as a private club for actors--The Player's Club.

At the time not only could actors not join gentleman's clubs, being considered incorrigible rogues, but could also not be buried in consecrated ground. And yes, it was his brother, John Wilkes who shot Abraham Lincoln.

As to the hawk, here's his story, sent in by longtime contributor Robin of Illinois--

Gramercy Park’s Amiable Hawk Gets a Name
By Jennifer 8. Lee


Pale Male now has to share the New York City bird stage, with another red-tailed hawk that has recently made a home in Gramercy Park — and that some believe may be related to him.

The young red-tailed hawk, which first appeared in the two-acre urban oasis in April, inspired a neighborhood naming contest with hundreds of contributions — many of them plays off of Pale Male’s name or the history of Gramercy Park.

Among the suggestions that riffed off the famed Central Park bird: Hail PaleHale Male and Pale Son. Names that drew on Gramercy Park’s history include Duane (for the family of the owners out of whose farmland Gramercy Park was created); Ruggles (for Samuel B. Ruggles, who bought the property from the heirs of James Duane); and Krom (for the Dutch name for the area, “Krom Moerasje,” meaning “little crooked swamp”).

The winner?


It was the most suggested name, said Arlene Harrison, a trustee of GramercyPark and president of the Gramercy Park Block Association, who ran the contest and announced the winner this week. “They took it very seriously,”she said. “They did research.” Children wrote in from camp and people were constantly stopping her on the street.

The red-tailed hawk is probably between one and two years old, based on its markings, and is still looking for a mate. It has eaten a lot of pigeons,residents report, and perhaps even squirrels. Ruggles is currently on leave from the park, as it seems to disappear for a few weeks periodically.

Despite the fact that Pale Male and Lola’s reproduction troubles have been well-chronicled, one local birdwatcher believes that Ruggles may be perhaps their descendant, in part because by of its lack of fear of humans and its distinctive coloring, which is similar to Pale Male’s. The bird’s head is much paler and the band across his belly is lighter and more diffuse than those of the typical red-tailed hawk and is very similar to the markings ofPale Male, said Sandy Kisiel, a Gramercy Park resident and a longtime birdwatcher. “There are not that many light-headed red-tailed hawks,” she said.

Also, it is unusual in that it has decided to settle in a two-acre urban space, since most red-tailed hawks shy away from people. “People are in the park and reading newspapers, and this guy comes swooping in,” said Ms.Kisiel. “Just right next to all these people, it’s so hilarious. You just don’t see red-tailed hawks behave that way.

”Pale Male likewise famously settled on the facade of a Fifth Avenue co-op.

Ruggles is unlikely, based on its age, to be Pale Male’s son — given the fact that Pale Male and Lola didn’t successfully hatch chicks for several years. “It might be a grandchild,” she said. But, as her husband said, “Unless you do a blood test, you can’t prove anything.”

Fawn Photographs by D, Browne
My friend, Jim Blank, who photographed the twin fawns posted previously on the blog, and I were out looking at a depository of clay when he said, "Look, look! Do you see it?"

Now Jim has an eye for deer in much the same way I have an eye Red-tails. He spots deer everywhere. It took me a moment and then yes, I DID SEE HER. She was in the wheat field waiting for Mom to come back for her.

She walked a few steps to the east.

Then she gave us the one eyed peer.

A few steps west...

Then a straight on look with both eyes.

Then it was down into a kneel, ears back.

An I-am-wheat imitation.

No really, I am TOO wheat.

Okay, okay, wheat with ears and eyes.

Is that Mom over there in the bushes?

I look away to see what might be causing the look of acute focus and when I look back--no fawn.

I wait. Eventually two ears reappear in quite a different section of the field.

And then when the ears disappear, I wait-and wait-and wait, but they are gone for the day it seems.
A small flock of Cockatoos take over the backyard bird feeder.
From longtime contributor Karen Anne Kolling of RI.--
I was going-- What? What, when I read this post, and then I remembered the writer is in Australia. I would be thanking my lucky stars if I had these birds visiting my garden -

"Birds that Visit our Garden"

Donegal Browne

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