Thursday, March 03, 2005



This note is from Phoebe Epstein, a long time member of our Wednesday morning birdwatching group -- the Early Birders. [We meet at 7:00 a.m -- is that early?.]

I've been reading with interest your postings from John Blakeman about how hawks hunt in NYC. I was one of the people (along with Ardith) who, a couple of years back, witnessed a red-tail snag a pigeon on 95th Street and Broadway. I don't know if what I saw adds to John's understanding, but I thought it might be worth sharing.

The "victim" was perched on a wrought-iron railing in front of a third-floor window on Broadway. The hawk swooped down--out of nowhere, it seemed to me--and grabbed the pigeon in one fluid movement. He held the pigeon in his talons and took it to a tree in the Broadway median between 94th and 95th Street and proceeded to devour the bird. It took about 20 minutes. When he was done, all that was left were some feathers and the wings which the hawk had stripped off early on and dropped to the ground.

I'd have to say that the hawk seemed very skilled at this type of capture. He didn't hit the window, didn't miss a beat or fumble with his prey. The crowd that watched him eat the pigeon was pretty interesting too! Perhaps I'll save that for another time.

Thanks for letting us all in on John's observations. I really enjoy reading them.




Ms. Winn,

John Blakeman has noted how the abundance of food has created a saturation of redtail hawks in Central Park. As well, other birdwatchers have reported sighting alarming territorial breeches by falcons near Mr. Pale Male's nest. While we must keep our emotions in check and exercise scientific awareness of the conflation of natural forces: abundance of prey, species saturation, and competition among the species -- is there any record of nonhuman immiment threats to Pale Male and Lola's brood or for redtails in the wild?

I absolutely love your website and would like to mention Pennsylvania also has it's own set of avian celebrities. Captivating Falcon stories are posted from all over the United States.

With Sincere Gratitude,
Gabby De Acosta
Philadelphia, PA