Thursday, August 18, 2005

Pale Male seen daily!

Lola with talons descended.
Photo by Lincoln Karim a few years ago

I ran into the photographer Rik Davis at Union Square this morning. [My office and his studio are in that neighborhood]. If you've ever been to the Hawk Bench at the Model-boat Pond, you're sure to have seen him. He's the one whose great photographs of the hawks you see spread out on a bench behind the telescopes.

While others ended their vigil there last April, when it became clear that Pale Male and Lola's eggs were not going to hatch, Rik has continued to spend a part of every day in his usual spot. As you may know I've been posting occasional sightings of Pale Male or Lola on this website, just to let people know that the famous birds are still around. What I didn't realize is that they are VERY very around.

A short conversation with Rik revealed that Pale Male and Lola spend many hours each day perched on the the same places they always used as look-out points: the top of the Carlyle Hotel, the Oreo Building, Linda's 6 windows -- those odd names you may remember from reports earlier this year. You just have to be there at the right time, often in the morning.

A few days ago, Rik reports, he saw an aerial redtail-kestrel encounter. After being pursued by the small kestrel for a while, the redtail pair turned on their pursuer and chased him, Rik recounts

Yesterday morning a little before 11, Rik saw an exciting sight: Pale Male and Lola soaring above Fifth Avenue together with talons descended. This posture during flight is often seen at the start of the breeding season . I've always associated it with courtship and mating [in John Blakeman's use of the word "mating", meaning forming the pair bond]. Yet it's only mid-August. Breeding season is at least 4 months away. These birds are getting a head start!

Anyhow, for those of you still worrying that for some reason our Fifth Avenue hawks will not resume nesting on 927 Fifth next spring, that they will switch their allegience to Central Park West, for example, this is very heartening news.

PS What would be wrong with a new nest on Central Park West? Nothing, perhaps, from the hawks' point of view. From the human point of view here's what's wrong: No "Hawk Bench" there for easy communal viewing.