Pale Male | NYC’s Favorite Father
We want to recognize the one NYC father that has always won the hearts of New Yorkers. That illustrious father is Pale Male, the red-tailed hawk that has lived in and around Central Park for 21 years. And in those 21 years, he has fathered 23 chicks.
Father of NYC Hawks
His life is truly extraordinary. He is the first hawk to return to Central Park in longer than anyone can remember. Also, he has survived at least 5 mates since his arrival in 1991 as an immature hawk. One reason he has lived to see so many of his children survive to populate the NYC area is that he has always been an exemplary father bringing food to his eyasses 5 times per day. As any good father, he was a helping hand, working as a team with his mate. He won the respect of onlookers as he made sure they were taken care of until they could do so themselves.
Birdwatchers flock to the area around Conservatory Water to spy on Pale Male and his family. He has nested along 5th Avenue for years, and awhile back, there was a big controversy when the building he nested at, 927 Fifth Avenue, took actions that perceived to evict Pale Male and the nest that he had used with Lola to take care of their offspring. They removed the anti-pigeon spike that supported the nest. Eventually, the building and the city came to a compromise. Still, there hasn’t been a successful hatching in years, and many blame the present nest at 927 Fifth Avenue.
Street Smarts in the Sky
It is amazing that Pale Male is still alive, as the hazards of being a city hawk are unusual and means a hawk has to learn some street smarts. Several of his mates have dropped dead from eating poisoned rats. But Pale Male seems to be immortal, always moving onto his new love (often very quickly). Indeed, red-tail hawks do mate for life. The proverbial word is live as they do not mourn when a mate dies like humans do.
The watchers have taken thousands of photographs of this majestic bird as it swoops between the trees and skyscrapers. However, Pale Male has the best views high above the park. His perches only a hawk can reach, and he has been spotted perched on many different towers at all hours. And from those perches he sees a park full of hawks that he can call his children.
Pale Male is a great father, just as much as a quintessential New Yorker. So take out some time over the summer and go to Conservatory Water to look for him. You will probably need binoculars. Even better than watching is snapping a few photos of this legendary father, a living Central Park treasure.
Creative Commons Photos from Flickr