Saturday, July 04, 2009


Hope the fireworks don't scare all the Central Park and Riverside Park nestlings and fledglings

Friday, July 03, 2009

A report from Murray Head

The young hawks at Riverside Park have become stunningly handsome. Aside from eating, watching, preening and sleeping... they play games. Which they take seriously.

I happened on such a game on Wednesday [July 1]:

Tennis anyone?


Get ready for this one!

What?!... It was in by a talon!

Same time tomorrow?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Moths at last

Photo 1 -- moth with forewings covering the hindwings

Photo 2 -- forewings open to reveal the black "eyes" on the yellow hindwing

Below, an exciting letter I received yesterday from Regina Alvarez, the Woodlands Manager of Central Park

Hi Marie -
I wanted to share a couple of photos I took of a moth back in late May. I identified it as Small-eyed sphinx, Paonias myops. I then gave a photo of it to Nick Wagerik to confirm my ID. He confirmed and was very excited because he says he has never seen one here in the park! How lucky I was to see it! It was on a lamppost in front of the Heckscher playground. I wonder if it had recently pupated because it was just sitting there and it looked so fresh. The little I have read about it says the caterpillars feed on wild cherry - Prunus serotina and Prunus virginiana, as well as Shadbush -Amelanchier, all of which we have in the park.

PS Nick Wagerik is our Central Park moth guru, and a principal character in my book Central Park in the Dark

PPS the publication date of the new paperback edition of the book [Picador] was yesterday! Should now be available in bookstores.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Help protect the Riverside Redtails

One of the Riverside Park fledglings taking a walk on a sidewalk near the Boat Basin in Riverside Park this morning

Photo by BETH BERGMAN-- July 1, 2009 -- for more great pictures, see

Dear Readers-- I support Lincoln Karim's efforts to protect the new fledglings in Riverside Park, the ones I've written about here on several occasions. Below is a plea for letters to be sent to the Dep't of Transportation. Also below, a letter sent by Murray Head, the photographer, and the very reasonable letter Lincoln wrote to an official of the DOT. [Please make your letters reasonable and respectful too, Those are the ones that work.]

From Lincoln Karim's site-- http://www.

I am trying to get the Dept Of Transportation to install a 'SLOW' sign at the top of the 79th Street exit ramp on the Henry Hudson Highway;
I spoke to Mr J. Orzeck who understands the situation and is willing to do it.
He would like to have supporting letters (emails) from sufficient people to support the need for this important action.
Please email Mr Orzeck at:

Murray Head's letter -- a sample:

Dear Mr. Orzeck,

The letter (below) sent by Mr. Karim puts forth and clearly states a simple action that the DOT can implement to addressa situation that many New Yorkers feel strongly about about... that being the protection the family of Riverside Hawks.

The recent loss of a wonderful young hawk to roadway traffic has made it even more obvious that whatever isdone to protect this gift of urban wildlife will be gratefully received. The cost seems minimal and the benefit tothe hawks as well as drivers is significant.

Quick action is essential as the two remaining hawks are very active a have little knowledge of the danger.

Thank you in advance,
Murray Head

The "Watchout for low-flying hawks" sign seems to be reasonable... so please consider that too.

Here is Lincoln's original letter to the DOT:

Dear Mr Orzeck:

I am appealing to you to install new signage on the Henry Hudson Parkway to impede speeding on this section of the roadway.

1st request:
Southbound side of the Henry Hudson Parkway at the beginning of the 79th Street exit ramp (presently there is a DOT green & white sign "79th Street Boat Basin");
A sign that says 'SLOW' or any other appropriate sign to slow down cars exiting the Parkway to enter the 79th Street Boat Basin.

2nd request:
Both Northbound and Southbound lanes:
Signs reminding vehicles that the speed limit is 50MPH (I believe this is the speed limit). Signs reminding vehicles of the speed limit on the entrance/exit ramps for both directions of the roadway.

This request is concerned with the welfare of a family of red-tailed hawks which live in the area and is habitually traversing this section of the busy roadway.
Without having any means of accurately measuring the speed of vehicular traffic on this section of the roadway (between 79th Street and 84th Street) I can reasonably gauge that cars travel way above the legal speed limit. Surely I would welcome signs that say ‘WATCHOUT FOR LOW FLYING HAWKS’ or something similar, but for now I would like to have the existing regulations enforced.