Saturday, February 04, 2006

Hawkwatching nomenclature explained

HI Marie,

I looked through my snapshots and put together a group of photos in which the buildings visible from the Hawk Bench overlap each other from shot to shot. That way I hope those who've never visited will be able to get the Bench eye view of the sequence of buildings as they go north and south from 927.

In the center, the shorter building between the two larger ones, is 927 Fifth Avenue. As we tell the many people who come by and ask where the nest is-If you look above the middle window on the top floor, you'll see a cornice and on that cornice is the nest cradle, and above that...Can you make out the twigs, that's Pale Male and Lola's nest.

A few floors down is where Mary Tyler Moore, one of Pale Male's big supporters used to live.

If you look carefully on the roof, the perpendicular item furthest to the front right, is the grated chimney on which Pale Male has been known to stand and warm his under wings on chilly days.

The building to the left, north, we call Woody, because Woody Allen used to live there. Many photographs of the hawks in flight have been taken with the windows of that building in the background. As that air space is often a runway for take offs and landings.

The big square "box" on the top of Woody is the cover for the building's water tower. Look down to the right and left of the "box" and you'll see there is a roof garden with some small trees, often tended by numerous gardeners. Currently Pale Male and Lola are bringing twigs they've clipped off the trees inside Central Park to the nest. But as time gets tighter for nest building, Pale Male will often fly just next door to Woody and snip twigs off those small trees with his beak. Lola also collected long dry grasses from a flower bed up there with which to line the nest last year.

And come time for Pale Male to give his nuptial gifts of rat and squirrel to Lola he will sometimes stash them for her, one level down from the garden, in the space between the two sections of the building on the south side.

To the right, south of 927, is Dr. Fisher, more on that building when we can see all of it. But yes, it's called Dr. Fisher because of course Dr. Fisher lived there. An avid hawk watcher, he graciously allowed photographers to shoot the nest and it's inhabitants from his terrace.

The buildings may seem rather small and far away compared with the photographs that you've seen of the hawks and the nest. But we have an entire battery of binoculars and scopes that make the hawk watchers views comparable to the ones you see in the pictures. The Swarovski birding scope pointing at 927 in the picture is one of them. It was generously donated by the company, Swarovski Optik, to the Hawk watchers of Central Park and it's in use virtually everyday.

The body of water just behind the day's worth of supplies and equipment is the Model Boat Pond, above which Pale Male and Lola will often do aerial displays while courting.

More to come,

Donna Browne