Friday, December 03, 2010

More Do Red-tails Eat Dogs Plus Bobby Horvath Will Soon Release Another Rehabbed Red-tail

Isolde the female Red-tailed Hawk of The Cathedral Church of the St. John the Divine Nest with a rodent carcass in her beak. I've observed her on and off for five years and have never seen her go into a hunting stance when even the teeniest dog walked by.

Dog nabbing by coyotes and a cynical view of the Florida Hawk-Grabs-Dog Assumption News Story from Robin of Illinois--

They [coyotes] are more prevalent than a lot of folks suspect, especially in suburban areas. I do know of two (small/toy-type) dogs who were taken by coyotes, both in plain sight of the human companion. The most recent was one in Macomb, IL, a mid-sized town, with a State University. My friend Lana's father often had deer traversing and napping on his land, in suburbia, as his land backed up to a semi-wooded area. One afternoon, taking his small dog named Dusty out for a run around the back yard, a coyote came running in and grabbed the dog, and took off. My friend's father was elderly, and pretty wobbly on his feet and could not catch the coyote, although he tried.

As to the [dog] disappearance in Florida, I suspect (cynic that I am) that the dog-caretaker lost the dog through carelessness and made up a hawk story on the spot to explain the loss of the dog.

Also from Robin--, The Horvaths do it again, another rehabilitated Red-tail ready for release, but perhaps not where it was found. (Sorry all, can't get the link small enough not to break, you'll likely have to type it in or just scroll down to the piece.)


An injured baby red-tailed hawk found in Stuyvesant Square Park in early November is finishing up his rehabilitation and is set be released next week, though not necessarily back where it was found.

Park goers who found the fledgling on Nov. 3 worried it got hurt after eating a poisoned rat. However, an X-ray determined that it had a trauma-based wing injury, said wildlife rehabilitator (and New York City firefighter) Bobby Horvath, who is caring for the hawk on Long Island.

But because of the bait laid down to curtail this park's rat problem, Horvath may not return the hawk, born in the spring, to the park where it was found.

"I know people care about it, but if you bring it back to that park, it is not necessarily in the bird’s best interest," Horvath said.

He said he was considering a couple of big parks in Queens or the Bronx as suitable new homes for the fledgling hawk.

Stuyvesant Square Park, however, has had no shortage of hawk sightings since the injured red-tailed hawk was hospitalized.

Phyllis Mangels, a resident of the area for 30 years and president of the Stuyvesant Square Community Alliance, saw her first hawk here two years ago on Thanksgiving Day.

"They started showing up in the fall, would stay a few weeks, and then come back in the spring for a few weeks," she said. "They’re very cool. And they’re not afraid of people. One was sitting on the fountain for an hour, letting people take its picture."

They’ve been spotted on park benches and picnic tables. Malgorazata "Gosha" Moseig, a Parks Department gardener who’s at Stuyvesant Square Park three days a week and Union Square two days, sees them perched up high on the Beth Israel Medical Center sign facing the parks’ eastern edge or on the Peter Stuyvesant statue.

"Since the leaves started falling off the trees, you see the hawks everyday," said Moseig. She also sees them at Union Square — once perched on the pointing finger of the George Washington statue. After that, she bought a camera and has been documenting them ever since.

"People sitting on the benches often don’t even notice," Moseig said. "You’ll have a hawk flying right by, right under your nose."

Sarah Aucoin, director of the Urban Park Rangers, said that city hawks, especially babies like the one injured last month, tend to be less wary of humans.

"Pale Male receives a lot of attention, but he is representative of 20 to 30 red-tailed hawks nesting in the city and 100 other hawks flying around on any given day," said Aucoin, noting that kestrels, peregrine falcons and screech owls now also make their homes in the city. "Hawks, especially red-tailed, have been steadily increasing over the last decade."

"New York City is a migratory fly-over area. In addition, as the environment has supported healthier prey, top predators like hawks and coyotes have made their way back," Aucoin said.

"Every park, every neighborhood has a hawk," Horvath said. "Unfortunately, the more there are, the more they’ll get in trouble."

Besides poisoned rats, feasting on pigeons also poses problems. "Some pigeons kill red-tails," he said. "The pigeons have a parasite that they are perfectly fine with, but can kill anything that eats them."

The very reason Horvath doesn’t want to bring the hawk back here is why Ellen Black, 63, who walks her two toy poodles in Stuyvesant Square Park, likes them: they eat rats.

"I won’t take my dogs into the park at night because of the rats," she said. "Some people I know were worried for their little dogs, but the hawk I saw was small. It was eating a mouse or something. It wasn’t big enough to take my dogs as far as I could tell."

(More folks fearful that their dog might hawk-nabbed.-- Robin)

Yes, some of Ellen's friends are wary but at least Ellen Black was sensible enough to compare the size of a Red-tail to her dog's size and to note the Red-tail eating a rodent. Observation can really be a big help against unreasonable fear. Let' s hope others keep their eyes open as well as their minds.

Donna Browne

No comments: