Follow the adventures of Pale Male, a daring red-tailed hawk who manages to thrive in the urban world of New York City.
A fearsome predator has been stalking Manhattan for years. But instead of calling the police, New Yorkers have put out the welcome mat and wished him the best of luck. Meet Pale Male — a red-tailed hawk who chose life in the Big Apple and founded a hawk dynasty on the ledge of a swanky high-rise overlooking Central Park.
New York’s bridges and high-rises have long been known to occasionally harbor peregrine falcons on their upper ledges and steel towers. But the presence of a red-tailed hawk launching into majestic flight from a Fifth Avenue apartment building to search for prey in the skies over Central Park created a local sensation when first noted in the early 1990s. Pale Male, as he soon was known, quickly became a cause célèbre, first among local residents, then New Yorkers in general, attracting the interest of naturalists, photographers, and journalists.
Long before sunrise, throngs of spectators gathered in the park with binoculars and telescopes to watch Pale Male on his ledge and wait for him to start his day. It was assumed to be a fleeting opportunity to observe the rare phenomenon of a red-tailed hawk experimenting with life in the big city.
But improbably, the winged hero of this story had found a permanent home amidst the bustle of human civilization. In the months and years that followed, he became the main character in an unfolding drama — mating, raising chicks on a precarious perch and defending them against marauding crows, teaching his offspring survival skills in a semi-natural environment, losing his mate and finding another, and, almost miraculously, guiding a multi-generation family that could withstand intimate proximity with people.
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Online content for Pale Male was originally posted May 2004.