Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pale Male's Earlier Poisoned 2012 Fledglings Return to Central Park!

       Photo courtesy of Henry Willson / Senior Staff Photographer, Columbia Spectator
  Cathy Horvath releases one of Pale Male and Zena's previously poisoned Fledglings in Central Park.


I received an email this evening for Ellen Smithson, who recently relocated from Tucson, Arizona to NYC and who just happened to be enjoying Central Park when she stumbled upon the release of the two fledglings of Pale Male and Zena.  They who survived a bout of secondary rat poisoning under the care of Cathy and Bobby Horvath of WINORR, Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation.  

Ellen wrote in part-

I was taking a walk in the Ramble when I saw a long haired park ranger and a dark haired woman painting the toe nails of a large bird.  

I thought to myself, "Only in New York City".

There were others looking on during this phenomena so I too stopped to watch what might happen next.  

It was one of the most beautiful sights I'd ever seen. Two hawks  flew from the hands of a person into the freedom of  air and sunshine.  A sun that flashed off the gold in their feathers.  

Two hawks which were poisoned by anonymous people who'd set out to kill rats and who had been brought back to life by people who cared enough to do all the tending it took to get to this spot on this day.  It was a blessing.

I was told that there wasn't any guarantee that these birds wouldn't be poisoned again and that, I found, a very tragic thought.  How can people be so thoughtless?  Is there no other way? 

I then got my first look at Pale Male later.  I was befriended by some  very nice hawk people and we saw him fly over the younger hawks. I guess he recognized them as he didn't chase them away, which I'm told he would have done if he didn't know them.  

I think I'm going to like New York City after all. 

 Many thanks Ellen, and if you can be intrigued by people painting nail polish on a hawk's talons and wait around for the second act.  I think you definitely have the stuff to "like" the Big Apple.  Keep in touch!

Opera Star the third fledgling of this year's nest on 927 Fifth Avenue is believed to have succumbed to secondary rat poisoning,  as likely, did his mother, Zena.

A few of the  known lost to secondary rat poison are Ginger Lima, Pale Male's mate before Zena,   Hawkeye, mate of Rose, at the Fordham nest, Athena, mate of Atlas of the Triborough nest, and Intrepid, the beautiful Riverside Park Mom, who had lost three eyasses still in their natal feathers on the nest, due to secondary rat poisoning in a previous season. 

Though Pale Male's fledglings were poisoned while in or around Central Park by eating already poisoned rats, they were also released back to the area.  There are any number of reasons for doing this which include their familiarity with their natal territory and the fact that when it comes down to it, secondary poisoning is a problem all over the country. 

 Though Central Park has reputedly done what they can to remove poison, there are buildings which face the park which undoubtedly have not.

 Nowhere is truly safe for them. 

BESIDES...another reason why Central Park would be best, at least in my opinion,  is as these birds were so young when they were poisoned they had not had the time to be trained thoroughly by their super hunter father Pale Male in his many hunting techniques.  The ways of hunting are not innate for Red-tailed hawks.  They must be apprenticed to hunting by their parents.  The better the training  the more chance they have of surviving their first year, when a very high percentage of  young Red-tailed hawks die.

I'm hoping that Pale Male will pick up where he left off  as hunting mentor.  I realize that in young Red-tailed fathers the training of their offspring may come from hormonal urges.  A hormonal level that after six months Pale Male may not feel.  But just perhaps Pale in his many seasons of training young hawks, has the cognizance to know what they need and will do it because he knows it needs doing not just because his hormones tell him so. 

Donegal Browne

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