Thursday, March 17, 2005

Pale Male Update #2 - Incubating!

OK…enough about me – time for a Pale Male & Lola update
because the pix today are FAAAAbulous and plus THEY’RE INCUBATING! Yes, if all goes well, our local redtails with the CPW address will be raising another set of fine young eyases again this year!

For anyone to whom that paragraph makes absolutely NO sense at all, here’s the back-story:

Pale Male is a 14-year-old (estimated) red-tailed hawk who’s a longtime and much-loved resident of New York City, having first been sighted here in 1991. He and a series of mates (Lola is his current mate; if I remember correctly, the last mate, Blue, died after eating a poisoned rat or pigeon – he and Lola have been together since 2001) have been nesting on an ornate parapet at 927 Central Park West (same building as Mary Tyler Moore, no less!) since 1993. Since 1995, at least one of each yearly brood raised in that nest has fledged with the exception of 2002 - Lola’s first clutch, according to the statistic page fromwhich I’m gleaning all of this info. I wonder if redtails don’t do that well on their first try cause it looks like the first 2 clutches Pale Male & Blue had were abandoned and didn’t hatch, while over the subsequent 4 years, 11 of their 12 hatchlings fledged. 1992, Pale Male & First Love’s first full year together also produced no young – they had a run of rough luck, the first nest was destroyed, and then after they rebuilt in another location, they were both injured.

I’m quite fascinated by this statistics page, can you tell? I just found it today – included the link here ‘cause I really just stumbled across it. Have to put palemale.com on my blogroll!

There was an interesting documentary produced within the last couple of years. I’d known about them for a lot longer – they were local celebrities even before that. A couple of years ago I was out for a walk in Central Park when one of the youngsters, who was still working out the kinks on the flying thing & was being harassed by a bunch of smaller birds (which was what first caught my attention – this was a few years back & I can’t remember if it was crows or some smaller birds, I think it they were smaller but isn’t it more usual for crows to mob predatory birds?) came working it’s way right over my head, flapping rather awkwardly from tree to tree. He or she finally made it up to the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and from there, where the smaller birds finally left it alone and it was able to finally get enough wingroom to work up into a proper upward-spiraling soar & dissapear. What a moment that was – and I remembered that the night I happened to catch the documentary, which was a fascinating picture of both the hawks and a dedicated coterie of hawk-watchers, on the Discovery Channel last year.

This winter the co-op board at 927 CPW, in a stupendous display of the unique arrogance that Manhattan co-op boards sometimes display, tore down the nest & removed the anchoring pigeon spikes (wire bristles designed to keep pigeons from landing on your fancy architectural details). Too messy, they said. Too many nasty carcasses & stuff. Poor Pale Male and Lola – they came home one day to find their nest just gone. They tried to rebuild – they’d bring sticks, but without the spikes, it was a useless effort as the sticks would just blow away.

But although they couldn’t speak for themselves, the hawk-watchers could. The media picked up the story; there were protests in front of the building, there were letters to the editor, and, finally realizing that they were embroiled in a complete PR nightmare & that even some of the residents of the building were angry (I think Mary Tyler Moore was among them!), the co-op board relented and hired someone to design, build and install a custom-designed falling-stick-and-dead-rat-proof redtail nest cradle on the parapet!

Once again…all together now…only in N.Y., yeah?

There was no guarantee they’d move back in – it was quite possible that after such a disturbance, they might want to look for new digs – but in the end, they chose to do so & proceeded to rebuild their nest in time for mating season. And now they’re incubating their 2005 clutch – I’ve been so busy with other stuff I actually hadn’t checked up on palemale.com for a couple of weeks (after all the waiting with bated breath to see whether they were going to rebuild was over & they’d begun their annual mating flights) and then one morning I was listening to the news as I was getting ready for work, and there in the middle of all the usual death, destruction & misery was the announcement – “Pale Male and Lola are expecting!”. Or something like that.

I was thrilled. I’d posted a Pale Male update back when they started building & just couldn’t resist doing it again!

2 comments:

Michlt said...

Pale Male is quite a celebrity, isn't he? In Philadelphia, we heard about him being evicted from his previous roost last year. That was the first we had heard of him. I had no idea he had his own website, but I should not be surprised. Thanks for highlighting it. I will keep watching.

http://breedingparrot.blogspot.com/ said...

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