Monday, June 13, 2011
Close Encounter of the New York Kind
New Yorkers take things seriously. The populace is large enough to support subcultures of every interest imaginable. Interests become obsessions. What better obsession than the things we have so little of - wildlife. Wildlife in a city like New York is limited and dominated by pigeons, rats, mice, squirrels and common birds. So when real wildlife of a different kind appears, it's BIG news.
Perhaps one of the biggest wildlife stories in recent years was the nesting of red tail hawks at 927 Fifth Avenue. The first to make home there was Pale Male in 1991. The nearby boat pond in Central Park was an ideal viewing spot and became a birder's paradise. See my story here. The lineage continues to this day. The interest has spawned international press coverage, films, websites. To this day, 10 years later, birders are still found regularly on location with the requisite telescopes.
On February 7, 2007, I photographed a red-tailed hawk feeding on the remnants of a pigeon on my air conditioner overlooking Washington Square Park. At this rare opportune moment, I was able to capture a photo through my window from only inches away. The photo received tremendous traffic as would be expected. See the photo and story Hawk Fest here.
Since that time a number of red-tailed hawks have been sighted around the park. The coup de grâce, however, was the recent nesting of a hawk on the windowsill of the Bobst Library building. The window chosen was none other than that of the president of New York University himself, John Sexton. Many speculate the roost was chosen for the same reason it is the location of the president's office - the 12th floor perch affords sweeping views of the entire park, perfect for a bird of prey.
The real story here however, is the nesting and mating of Violet and Bobby (violet is the official NYU color and Bobby after the Bobst library) and the birth of offspring. Yesterday, during a Be Fit NYC event, the parks department had set up a telescope for viewing of the hawks. I was able to capture a photo with a camera up against the scope.
The New York Times set up a webcam to keep an eye on the family. The cam provides a live stream, free and 24/7. Check it out here for a Close Encounter of the New York Kind :)
Related Posts: That Should Cover It, Peregrine Falcons, Light on Bobst