I don't often respond to any messages from the bird list, and I do
appreciate different opinions on things.
While I agree that the loss of habitat, destruction of birds and nests are
all very disturbing...
this is disturbing as well.
Yes, Pale Male is a celebrity, what is better than a celebrity to bring
attention to some of the problems our native birds endure?
How many people have looked at this nest and the young being raised there?
Birdwatchers and passerbys alike took an interest in this BIRD. How many
non-birders may have become even casual birders after watching this one
bird? If an interest is sparked, the quest to learn more begins. They may
buy their first pair of binoculars, their first field guide, and from there
they may learn about the habits and problems birds face in their quest to
And yes, Pale Male was on the national news - what better way to expose
people to the wrongs that are done to birds in general! If even one person
comes to a better understanding of it all, isn't that a positive thing?
Overall, while it is sad and disturbing that this has happened, hopefully
there will be a positive gain and interest in birds of all kinds.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Will Raup" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, December 09, 2004 12:38 AM
Subject: Re: [VTBIRD] Pale Male nest distroyed
As sad of tale as it is, keep in mind that the birds were not injured.
Chances are they will attempt to nest again. As much as we love birds,
there has to be a line between humans and birds, especially in a city
Much more devastating in my opinion is when farmers hay their fields in
June, thus killing many young Bobolinks, Upland Sandpipers, Savannah,
Grasshopper and Henslow's Sparrows. Not only do they lose their nests, but
their habitat as well. A double whammy. And then people wonder why their
numbers have dropped so much over the past 50 years. But, there are no
articles on the destructions of their nests in the NY Times or on CNN, no
movies made about them. These birds just die. In this case of 'Pale Male'
he was evicted, he and his mate and their off spring were not killed. I
think the removal of the nest has been somewhat over blown. Seems to me to
be more important issues, than where a pair of Red Tailed Hawks are going to
nest next year.
Manager, NE Crafts Guild
----- Original Message -----
From: Michael DeCorte<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, December 08, 2004 7:47 PM
Subject: [VTBIRD] Pale Male nest distroyed
Many of you watched the Nature program "Pale Male". Here is a very sad
A nest constructed a decade ago by red-tailed hawks 12 stories above
Central Park, creating an unlikely wildlife habitat that has delighted
bird lovers from around the world, was removed yesterday, apparently by
workers for its host co-op apartment building.
City officials and naturalists reacted with anger, even though there
appeared to be little legal recourse for the nest's destruction.
Experts said that the fate of a family of uncommonly large and resilient
birds, which have reproduced prolifically from the nest, had been thrown
into doubt. So was that of the nest's most famous red-tailed resident,
Pale Male, who arrived at the building in 1993 and, according to
detailed records kept by several bird-watchers, has sired 23 youngsters.
"I am so outraged that they would do this without so much as a by your
leave," said Mary Tyler Moore, who has lived for 15 years in the co-op
at 927 Fifth Avenue, at 74th Street, where the nest was built in 1993
above a cornice in clear view of Central Park.
"These birds just kept coming back to the edge of the building, and
people kept coming back to see them," said Ms. Moore, who recalled at
first craning her neck outside one of her windows to look up at the
bottom of the nest. In more recent years, she said, she has strolled
frequently across Fifth Avenue to Central Park for a better view.
"This was something we like to talk about: a kinder, gentler world, and
now it's gone," Ms. Moore said last night.
Exactly why the nest was destroyed was unclear. A man who answered a
call to 927 Fifth Avenue's management office last night said no one was
available for comment.
But Ms. Moore said other residents of the building had objected to large
bird droppings and, occasionally, the carcasses of pigeons - which hawks
prey upon - that landed on the sidewalk in front of their lobby. She
said her husband had attended a recent co-op board meeting, and had been
informed of its all-but-unanimous decision to remove the nest, even
though he had objected to the move.
Adrian Benepe, the commissioner of the Department of Parks and
Recreation, said his staff was unable yesterday to determine whether
removing the nest violated any state or federal wildlife-protection
laws, and would explore the matter again today.
"Our domain doesn't extend to the tops of people's roofs," Mr. Benepe
said. "Regardless of legality, I am concerned about whether this was
ethical, or the right thing to do."
The story of Pale Male and his offspring has been well documented. Marie
Winn, whose 1998 book on the subject, "Red-Tails in Love," was the basis
of a PBS documentary called "Pale Male," said yesterday that the nest
had been removed once before, in 1993, the year it was built.
She said the nest was built amid metal spikes that were placed on the
12th-floor cornice to discourage pigeons from roosting, and that the
spikes had the unintended effect of providing a strong structure to
brace a hawks' nest against the wind. After it was destroyed in 1993,
Pale Male rebuilt, Ms. Winn said.
That experience, she said, might provide evidence that Pale Male will
But another of the bird's most ardent observers and proponents, Lincoln
Karim, an engineer who has observed the nest for years with a telescope
from Central Park, said he had seen workers take away the spikes
Ms. Winn said the federal Fish and Wildlife Service ruled in the 1990's
that the nest was covered by a treaty adopted in 1918 to protect
migratory bird habitats and could not be destroyed.
But she said that more recent interpretations of the federal rules may
allow people to interfere with migratory bird nests if they do so in the
winter, when the nests are not used to raise offspring. Phone messages
left for officials at the agency late yesterday were not answered.
The nesting season for Pale Male and his current mate, Lola, does not
begin until January or later, and eggs are normally laid in the nest in
March, Ms. Winn said.
But even now, Pale Male, Lola and other red-tailed hawks can be seen
performing courtship rituals that involve flying in circles over Central
Whether they will attempt to rebuild the nest at 927 Fifth Avenue
remains in doubt, she said, particularly because its metal supports have
been removed. Even if the nest is restored, she said, the experience of
1993 does not bode well for the prospect that more offspring would be
hatched next year.
Ms. Winn said two years passed before Pale Male produced offspring after
the last time the nest was destroyed.