[Tweeters] pale male eviction

Erica Zwick EZwick at mrsc.org
Thu Dec 9 13:33:24 PST 2004

Editorial in the New York Times

here is no historic preservation district or landmarks commission for
hawks' nests. But if there were, the red-tailed hawk's nest at 927 Fifth
Avenue, overlooking Central Park at 74th Street, would surely have
qualified. Until Tuesday, the nest stood on a 12th-floor cornice with a
sublime aerial view of the urban forest in our midst. Since 1993, 23
young hawks have been raised there, sired by a bird called Pale Male.
Thousands and thousands of bird-watchers over the years have followed
the lives of the hawks in that nest. But this is not an homage to
bird-watching - it's an homage to birds.

On Tuesday, workers took down the nest and, apparently, the metal
anti-pigeon spikes that had helped hold it in place. So far, no one from
927 Fifth Avenue has spoken up to defend the co-op board's decision to
remove the nest. Perhaps residents were annoyed that the hawks didn't do
a better job of cleaning up after themselves by using a pooper-scooper
or putting their pigeon bones in the trash, the way a human would.
Perhaps they simply wearied of the stirring sight of a red-tailed hawk
coming down out of the sky to settle on its nest.

It's always tempting to think that a city like New York has utterly
effaced the natural ground on which it was built. Most of the creatures
that lived on Manhattan Island several centuries ago would stand no
chance of doing so now - not in these new canyons of steel and glass.
But the presence of a nesting pair of red-tailed hawks, sequestered on
the edge of an apartment building, feels like a memory from a past this
city has long since forgotten.

The hawks have gone out of their way to learn to live with us. The least
the wealthy residents of 927 Fifth Avenue could have done was learn to
live with the hawks.

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