Saturday, June 23, 2012

Incredible rescue of Fifth Avenue Fledgling

As most of you know, I wrote a book about the life and adventures of a red-tailed hawk who nested on Fifth Avenue. That story was absolutely true, but some people could hardly believe it because the book had no pictures to prove that it really happened

Yesterday evening I received an e-mail from reader Jeffrey Johnson telling another amazing [and heart-stopping] hawk story. But this time he sent along photos corroborating his story. Here are the photos and captions he sent:


I've just witnessed an incredible act of selfless courage.We all know that the 927 Nest of Pale Male & Zena has three successful fledges in recent days and this late Saturday afternoon I was in the Park hoping to get a glimpse of them. One of the fledges was on a left side window ledge just below the nest.

As the afternoon wore on Zena had delivered a meal to the fledgeand after hopping onto the railing the fledge abruptly made an awkward dive off.
[It's the white feathery mass you see along the corner of the railing in my photo.]

Quickly recovering from its plunge, the fledge begins a steep glide down to 5th Avenue and I hasten out of the Park myself.

I found the fledge had landed on the entryway canopy of its 927 Nest building, and there was Lincoln Karim already safeguarding him/her.

He/she was not terribly restless, clearly had intentions of getting off the canopy.I was concerned the fledgling might dive onto 5th Avenue so I thought I'd be able to try and stop traffic better if I remained across the street.

Within fifteen minutes or so the fledgling jumped off the canopy onto a nearby bush and building light fixture. I crossed the Avenue just as Lincoln Karim closed on the fledge and shepherded it into the hedge beneath it.
Lincoln went right into the hedge along with the bird and I was trying to get my jacket off to throw over the bird which I was certain to see being flushed out from the far end of the hedgerow. Yet within 20 seconds Lincoln Karim emerged from the same place he'd entered the hedge and he has all 18 inches of the fledgling cradled in a perfect hold. Bird wasn't even fighting him ! Lincoln strode so quickly by me that I didn't have time to get a photo. By the time I had my camera back around he was past me rushing the fledge he'd just rescued to his apartment. Bobby Horvath [a local bird rehabilitator - mw] will no doubt be getting a call.
I'm amazed that Mr. Karim knew exactly what to do. He acted as if he did such a wonderful thing every day at this time. As he passed me with that huge bird tightly cradled in his arms I was thunderstruck by how big and ferocious looking that "baby hawk" looked…yet Lincoln was calm and patient as if he were carrying an oversized football. He's a great photographer, but I think he's an even greater human being.

Jeff - long a fan of your books

[photos and captions by Jeffrey Johnson]

Thursday, June 21, 2012

TODAY'S the day!

                                           Newly emerged Cicada

 Rebekah Creshkoff, my friend and major informant on goings-on in the north part of Central Park, wrote this morning:

For the past couple of years, I have dropped you a note whenever I've first heard a cicada singing in Central Park, marveling at how early in the season it appeared. Today was the day for 2012. It was calling from the south end of the Loch, west side, seemed to be coming from high up in a tree.