Friday, March 02, 2012


                (L to R) The late Eleanor Tauber, Elizabeth, Kat Herzog, 2006
                            (I told you Kat was a longtime hawkwatcher and she'd been there for years before 2006.)

 Just in from Hawk Bench stalwart Katherine Herzog--

Long-time birdwatcher, Martha Marshall observed Pale Male mating with the new female, who we are calling Zena....on the Linda Building - window #3 at 3:45pm today.  They were in each others company for most of the morning and afternoon flying up and down 5th Avenue, to the nest and circling each other over the Small Sailboat Pond in front of their nest.  Another observer also claimed to have seen them mating several times today.

So now it begins....a new chapter in Pale Male's beautiful life!

Katherine Herzog 

And we can hardly wait! 
 More to come!
Happy Hawking,
Donegal Browne 

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Francois Portmann's Snowy Owl and Crows in NYC, Lincoln Speaks with the NY Daily News, a Pale Male Update and Frisky the Opossum

Photo by Francois Portmann

Photo by Francois Portmann
 A Snowy Owl (Nyctea scandiaca) is harassed by a trio of local Crows on a stretch of coastal dunes within city limits. Ultimately, she didn’t seem too concerned about the 15 min episode and settled for the day. F. P.

I do wonder if the parties concerned are up on the other species language and after doing their required scolding duty then came to some kind of understanding.

And Francois isn't just using the pronoun "she" as a  raptor courtesy to Queen Elizabeth I,  male Snowy Owls are more uniformly white than the females.

Do click on Francois' link to see the rest of the Crow vs Snowy Owl sequence and much more gorgeous bird photography besides.

And from longtime hawkwatcher Kat Herzog, who has spent many an hour observing from the Hawk Bench at the Model Boat Pond in Central Park, a Pale Male Update--

I heard about the sightings of more hawks than Pale and the new female but I'm not sure about that.  I've seen him with the new Hawk.  She is following him everywhere but though they are flying in circles together - the do not have their legs down and they have not been seen mating.

(Dropped talons during courting flights are a precursor to copulation in Red-tailed Hawks. D.B.)

The New Girl and Pale have gone to the nest - separately and together....bringing budding twigs.  We shall see.  I'm sure Pale will start fulfilling his destiny and start mating soon....unless he is "playing the field" and looking for the best female around.  The new female has a red tail but a lot of yellow in her iris....but she is quite adamantly courting him.  She following him and he staying at arms (wings?) length.  And, so, a new melodrama begins.....

Indeed it does Kat.

 I believe that when Pale Male does make his choice, she will be his sixth mate.


 Photographer Lincoln Karim’s feathers ruffled by arrest after death of Pale Male's hawk girlfriend

The photographer who has obsessively chronicled celebrity hawk Pale Male is squawking over his arrest by state wildlife officials.

Lincoln Karim says he was just trying to get state Department of Environmental Conservation officers to take the body of Lima, Pale Male's mate, when he was collared in Central Park Monday night.
Karim said he was held for more than six hours in the Central Park Precinct stationhouse after being arrested by a DEC police officer.

Karim had collected Lima’s body in Central Park on Sunday.
And another related story from International Business Times--

Frisky, the new Opossum in town.
 On the 28th Pyewackit the house cat went running to the patio door and ducked under the curtain for a look.  When I turned on the back light expecting one or both of the Bird Bath Cats, what should I find but a new Opossum in the neighborhood.  This one far more active than Fluffy who had previously been frequenting the feeding floor.  Fluffy is a large, tough looking Opossum who takes his time and isn't above snarling so I  get a look at his many sharp teeth if he catches a glimpse of me.  Needless to say I don't intrude on his personal space in any way. 
 When I attempted to ease the glass door open so I could  use the flash to get a sharper photo of Frisky, Opossums are notoriously hard of hearing, she looked up and trotted briskly around the corner of the house.  No teeth baring in this case,  which was nice.
As you have no doubt gathered from previous blogs, the negative behavior of Wisconsin animals upon seeing me approach compared with those in  NYC was beginning  to give me a complex.

Donegal Browne

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Pale Male and Lincoln Karim and Quicksilver-A Triple Guy Update

Pale Male courtesy of
A clarification of a previous observation from "Sunday Central Park Hawkwatcher"-- an update on Pale Male and Company-- 

The new mate was on the nest about 6 times. Pale male also went to the nest himself.  We saw 2 adult hawks flying above after pale male called for her to come get food but she didnt. We only saw  the other red tail for a short while.  They flew west and then Pale Male flew to a tree near the ramble and continued to call.

She [the New Girl] showed up and the two hawks [The two that are technically unnamed as yet D.B.] flew together.  They headed east of 79th st and we lost sight of them due to the trees. About 10 mins later, we got a call that the new mate just landed on the nest again. 

She [the New Girl] sat on the nest calling but Pale Male never came. She then flew west and we assumed she was going to get the food so we ran back to that tree only to find Pale Male sitting near it. He was calling her again. 

He [Pale Male] watched her fly around and then he began biting on some branches before flying to the nest. She flew to the building next to the nest and sat on the balcony.  He eventually flew out of the nest and was sitting in a tree west of Alice in Wonderland.  She stayed on the terrace. I left at that point because it was getting dark.

Biting branches, or other handy inanimate objects, is a frustration behavior I have observed in both raptors and parrots. Parrots may eventually bite the object of their frustration (often the uncooperative human) but I have not observed the biting of uncooperative mates in raptors. D.B.

NEW YORK — A longtime observer of celebrated New York City red-tailed hawk Pale Male was arrested after finding the body of the bird's yearlong mate, authorities said Tuesday.
State Department of Environmental Conservation said Lincoln Karim, a broadcast engineer for Associated Press Television News, was arrested on charges including illegal possession of a raptor. He was later released.
Karim said he had taken the body of Pale Male's mate, Lima, after finding it dead in Central Park over the weekend and taking photographs of it.
Concerned that an animal would eat it or a maintenance worker would toss it away, he said he put the body in a grocery bag and took it to his apartment, where he stowed away the carcass on his fire escape.


Into the roasting pan...

But not into the fire.  Quicksilver has a bath.  Why he insists on bathing in a roasting pan, I don't know.  But he does.  

If you've not looked in very recently keep scrolling down
 More to come-

Donegal Browne

Update- Pale Male and Company


February 28, 2012, 11:46 am

Hawk Chronicler Arrested Over Possession of Dead Bird

Updated, 3:10 p.m. | A longtime birdwatcher who carried a dead red-tailed hawk out of Central Park on Sunday, kept it in his apartment overnight and then carried it back to the park was arrested on Monday and charged with illegal possession of a raptor without a permit.
The birdwatcher, Lincoln Karim, was also charged with obstruction of government administration, according to Rodney Rivera, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Another birdwatcher who was with him was also charged with illegal possession of a raptor, Mr. Rivera said.

From Lincoln on Pale

As of 8:30PM of Monday February 27, Lima’s body is in the hands of DEC officer Brent Wilson. Officer Wilson promised me that Lima's body will be kept in the condition described to him by Joe Okeniewski of the DEC Lab… MORE--

More to come.

Donegal Browne

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Pale Male Up For Grabs! A Single Female on Sunday, A Pair of Hawks or Two Females on Monday??? What is going on?

Photograph courtesy of
 The New Girl who appeared by noon on Sunday, February 26th, according to Lincoln Karim of

A report from a Central Park Hawkwatcher who spent Monday at the Hawk Bench attempting to figure out what was going on with Pale Male and company.

She said,

 Someone from the Parks Department allowed us to climb the fence and lay out flowers for Lima.  While we were on cedar hill, Pale Male circled cedar hill for awhile. It was as though he was looking for something. Later he ate a pigeon and he called the new mate to come eat. She didn’t come to him. Instead she flew by with another adult red tail hawk. We were puzzled!   Seen at the nest at least 6 times.                 

Hello Hawkwatcher--

Who was seen at the nest 6 times?  Pale Male?  Pale Male and the female?  Or I hope not- the new male (I'm presuming the hawk with the female is a male) and new female?

This time of year two females together just doesn't happen normally unless they are fighting each other.  Which I suppose is possible.  Could what you saw have been a chase?

Are you sure the female that was with the second hawk today is definitely the female that was offering herself to PM yesterday?
I'm concerned because if a bonded pair appears in Pale Male's territory they may attempt to take it away from him by force and could even possibly do it two against one.

But perhaps as Pale Male hasn't chosen a mate yet and he didn't attempt to run anyone off today-- that the pair of hawks was actually two females who will have to duke it out in order to be the consort of the Monarch of Central Park. 


It's beginning to look like we're going to need a score card!

Several posts today so scroll down to make sure you didn't miss anything--AND MORE TO COME!!!

Donegal Browne

What Happened to Ginger Lima? And Lincoln Karim is Arrested.

 Long time Central Park Hawkwatcher Stella Hamilton reports late this evening,  that Lincoln Karim was arrested for not turning Ginger Lima's body over to the DEC today upon their request after not transporting or mailing it to the New York State Pathologist on Monday for a necropsy. 

All photographs in this post courtesy of

Ginger Lima as she was found after apparently falling from the tree she had roosted in the evening before.  After more investigation it  appears she was originally found by a pair of tourists late in the day on Sunday,  who happened on hawkwatchers which included Lincoln Karim and Stella Hamilton, while looking for a park ranger to report the dead hawk.  Hawkwatchers returned to the spot and Lincoln Karim retrieved Ginger Lima's body.

Later in conversation with members of the DEC, Lincoln agreed to be responsible for either transporting or mailing her body to the state wildlife pathology lab for a necropsy.

 Here is a closer view. (What a beautiful hawk she was.) Note that there is no visible injury to her head or anywhere else that we can see. If she had been injured by a Great Horned Owl in the night or a Peregrine Falcon by day ordinarily damage would be visible.

Nor does there appear to be any copious bleeding from Ginger Lima's mouth, nor were any distinct neurological anomalies observed in her behavior on Saturday, both possible symptoms of ingesting a creature who has been poisoned and then hence poisoning the hawk.  (There is a faint smear of blood on her beak but that is often the case with hawks as they eat their food raw.)

It has also occurred to me as a  possibility, that like Alex the famous African Grey Parrot who was found dead in his sleeping cage after a normal and active day at only 26 years of age (life span is 50 years plus for Greys), Ginger Lima may have had an enlarged heart or other congenital defect which suddenly killed her.

I spoke with wonderful wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath this evening and he answered a question that I had been wondering about previously but had never remembered to ask.  Hawks do on occasion ingest a bone or other material they shouldn't have and it can then puncture an organ, leading to internal bleeding and damaged organ function which also can lead to death.

As you can see, a necropsy is the only way we will ever be able to find out exactly what caused Ginger Lima's death, if then.  Sometimes even through the best offices of a wildlife pathologist, particularly if the body is deteriorated, exact cause of death can be difficult to ascertain.

Stella Hamilton and other hawkwatchers report that on Sunday though Pale Male appeared to be grieving for Ginger Lima, another female had been waiting in the wings and Pale Male allowed her inside the territory.  He even went so far as to stand with her on the nest.  Though the New Girl presented herself in copulation posture, it is hard on breeding season after all, Pale Male has not yet been observed availing  himself of her offer.

Normally the formel of Pale Male spends her first overnight on the nest, the point when watchers assume that there are eggs or are about to be, the first or second week of March so Pale Male will likely be working to fertilize eggs very soon.

And from the New York Times--

February 27, 2012, 5:57 pm

Pale Male’s Mate Lima Is Found Dead in Central Park


The body of Pale Male’s mate Lima, under a tree on Cedar Hill in Central Park.
If only she had just smelled the rat, but no. Lima, the red-tailed hawk who had been the female in Pale Male’s life for more than a year, ate the rat.
That was on Saturday. On Sunday, Lincoln Karim, a wildlife photographer and Pale Male chronicler, found her dead under a tree in Central Park. He speculated that the rat had eaten poison that, in turn, poisoned her.
Lima arrived after Lola disappeared in December 2010, Mr. Karim said. “As soon as the hawks acknowledge that one is missing or dead, they immediately get a new hawk,” he said. “When Lola went missing, this female” — Lima — “showed up right away.”

Just in from Stella Hamilton, 11:52 EST 

Currently hawkwatchers Stella and Domenic are waiting at the precinct house for Lincoln Karim to be released pending a standard background check which uses fingerprinting to make sure anyone arrested is not wanted for any outstanding crimes. 

MORE TO COME VERY SOON, AN UPDATE FROM JEAN SHUM- Jean watched the Red-tailed Hawks in Pale Male's territory today and there are now THREE.  A possible bonded pair plus Pale Male!  

Is Pale Male in danger of losing his territory?  If it comes to fisticuffs, and Pale Male hasn't taken a new mate by the time they break out with another RTH pair, the territory could be in jeopardy.  Or is it two females who are fighting each other who are the new extras in Pale Male's territory?

Donegal Browne- Keep checking back for more. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pale Male Grieves

Ginger Lima, Pale Male's mate, found  dead of unknown causes on the following Sunday takes flight on Saturday, appearing completely healthy.  Photograph courtesy of

I spoke with long time NYC hawkwatcher Stella Hamilton this morning. 

When the sun begins to go down in the normal nature of things,  Red-tailed Hawks invariably take to their roosts, preen a few feathers in preparation for the day to come, tuck their heads softly and sleep.

Sunday evening Pale Male screamed in the dark.  He kept screaming and would not stop.  The hawkwatchers gathered below him on Cedar Hill ; listened in their own grief not knowing how to comfort him. 

After time,  they brought his mate Ginger Lima's body and laid it on a large rock in the open where he could see her.  And with Pale Male the hawkwatchers  said their good-byes.

Donegal Browne


Ginger Lima on Saturday, February 25, 2012,  Photograph courtesy of Lincoln Karim of ,who found her body on Sunday the 26th  beneath the tree she and Pale Male had roosted in the evening before.

As if there hasn't been enough sad news pertaining to New York City's much loved Red-tailed Hawks, from WINORR, below is an alert from Bobby and Cathy Horvath, announcing the death of Ginger Lima, Pale Male's mate. 
I've been on the phone today with Lincoln Karim of the Palemale website. Sadly he found Pale Male's mate Lima dead under the tree they both roosted in together last night on Cedar Hill. She had been acting completely normal as of late and he reported they mated at least 4 times yesterday. He did see another bird at the nest with Pale Male also today so as mother nature goes its possible she has been replaced already but that is just an early possibility. Lincoln is working on arrangements to have her tested to determine the cause of death.

Donegal Browne--More to come.