Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Fledgling back in Central Park!

I don't know the details, and I don't know whether Junior and Charlotte have welcomed their offspring back into the fold. I devoutly hope so. I do know that finally, after an inordinately long spell at the Massapequa rehabber's place, the 888 7th Avenue fledgling is back in the park. An e-mail from Ben Cacace informed me that the young hawk was seen near the Hecksher Playground at about 3 pm. Ben, as you may know, was one of the first birdwatchers to become aware of a pair of redtailsmaking nesting attempts on Central Park South. That was many, many years ago.

I think everyone now agrees that something went wrong in this episode. A difficult decision was made at the time the young bird was found to take it to a rehab facility and check it for injuries. This decision should not be faulted. It is easy to say "Oh they should have i put the bird back in the park immediately, not take it to Horvath's place" but imagine a scenario in which the bird then turned out to be injured.

But the fact that the bird was uninjured should have been quickly apparent. The bird should have been returned to the park as quickly as possible. Everyone knew the area near 59th Street in the park where Junior and Charlotte cared for their fledglings two years ago. That would hve been a sensible place to put the fledgling after a day's absence. But for some reason this wasn't done. The bird was kept for more than a week. It was not isolated from human contact as it should have been--indeed a photograph of Bobby Horvath right next to the bird appeared in a newspaper yesterday. That was the moment when those who wanted to be fair to the guy finally turned against him.

Well, he seemed to say to the press, the young bird might have wandered out into the street again. Or might have had any number of other mishaps. But such is the nature of first-year redtails: their survival rate is very low. To prevent the natural dangers fledglings face not what a bird rehabilitator is meant to do!

Mistakes are made,.My hope is that something will be learned from it. As many have suggested, we need to have some protocols in place in case anything like this happens again.. I hope the Park Rangers, the NYC Audubon, and the park's capable hawkwatchers get together and plan ahead for fallen fledglings of the future.

I'll keep you posted. Many people wil be watching during the next few days.