Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Horvaths Talk to The Village Voice. Does Pale Male Ever Make a Second Choice Nest?


Wildlife Rehabilitators Bobby and Cathy Horvath Talk About Their Work In the City And Famous Hawks

Courtesy of the Horvaths

​On Monday the New York Daily News reported the on the death of Lima, New York City celebrity hawk Pale Male's mate. Often when stories -- both happy and sad -- of New York's leash-less animals pop up, we hear from wildlife rehabilitators Bobby and Cathy Horvath. The two have been rehabilitators for 25 years, but they work as volunteers. They both hold down what you might call day jobs -- he as a fireman and she as a veterinary technician -- while living with a host of animals in need of care. Currently, Bobby told Runnin' Scared, they have 50 or so animals in their home. We called up the married couple to get their reaction to recent news about Lima and other high-profile New York birds, and to learn more about what it's like caring for the city's wild creatures. 

Tell me a little bit about your work as wildlife rehabilitators in New York City?
Cathy: Well we live on Long Island, and we're volunteers. We've been rehabilitators for 25 years. We're licensed by the state and the federal government. We get calls all the time for birds of prey in the city so we travel back and forth. We were there trying to get Violet from the NYU building. That was a really long process. And not just from Manhattan. We go to Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens. We travel around.
What was your reaction when you heard about the death of Lima?
It was kind of a shock. They were just mating the day before she was found dead. It was shocking that she was dead.


Photo courtesy of Cathy Horvath
Some wildlife rehabilitators start early. Sadie Horvath at home with a red phase screech owl.

                                        Photo- Donegal Browne
AND IN ANSWER TO  RHONDA DE FARGE OF NEW YORK CITY'S QUESTION , "Did Pale Male ever make a secondary nest to give any of his mates another choice besides the nest site on 927 Fifth Avenue?"

 Pale Male  may have done it any number of times but one we do know about was in 2006  when he was observed putting a limited number of twigs in a niche on the Beresford Building. The Beresford is on the west side of the park where he and Lola tended to spend their mornings.

As far as we can tell, there was really never much of a question  whether any other site would be used.  Beyond the intermittent human intervention problems, 927 Fifth Avenue is one of the best, if not the best nest site in Manhattan, if not beyond. 

It certainly is the best site for hawkwatchers.  Not only are there long vistas in which to observe Pale Male and his mate coming into the nest, perching to hunt, fighting off intruders, keeping vigil,  or going to roost,  there are a tremendous number of comfort amenities for humans.

To list a few-

Park Benches- If you want to sit, oh those many hours observing during the hawk season,  you don't have to cart your own chair in when you come.

Food and Drink--Two snack bars, not more than a minute away. One with a roaring fireplace in winter.  And a full service white tablecloth restaurant-The Boat House, for those who'd like to splurge.

Restrooms-Three different sets, one each attached to the above mentioned food establishments. (Facilities can really be an issue at some nest sites.  You can bring your camp stool, your food, your drink, but a porta potty just doesn't fit in your back pack.)

Community--During the heat of  hawk season it has to be truly wretched weather not to find at least a few diehard watchers on the Hawk Bench who will pass on previous hawk observations of the day, new bird sightings in the park at large, and who'd been watching earlier in the day.

COMING SOON-  The amenities urban hawks appear to find important for nest placement!

Donegal Browne

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