Pale Male
Introduction

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.

UPDATE: Pale Male’s fame and family have continued to grow since the making of this film. For current photos and information, please visit http://www.palemale.com and http://www.mariewinn.com

To order a copy of Pale Male, please visit the NATURE Shop.

Online content for Pale Male was originally posted May 2004.

  • Kathryn Alexander

    Thank you for your wonderful photos taken yesterday in
    Central Park. We continue to be fans of Pale Male and
    the hawks of Central Park.

  • Suzanne Seymour

    I saw the hawk while sitting in Central Park in Oct. The cameras that are there permanently were aimed at the apartment bu8ilding where his nest is. I hear his call (screech) and looked up and he was circling the apartment building as if it were a tree. He was behaving as if the buildings were trees. It was so interesting. He was adapted to the the true urban environment, there were no obstacles to his natural routines.

  • Saskia Kempff

    I have been following the joys and sadness of Pale Male for years. I live in South Africa and my friend, who works at the American Museum of Natural History, gave me the DVD in 2002. Since then I have been showing it to so many people.
    I will be visiting Manhattan between 8 and 11 July 2009 and would like to join your specail group to say hello to Pale Male myself. Could you please tell me where you gather and at what time it will be the best to see this wonderful bird.
    Thanks
    Saskia

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    [...] and fortunate that they happen to be a nesting pair. They have gained a following, much as Pale Male, the red tail hawk living just outside of Central Park, the public gathers each year in hopes of [...]

  • Dot Brenoe

    On April 21st, 2009 my husband, daughter and I visited Central Park and were quite surprised to watch a bird of prey taking a bath in a puddle after monday´s rain. It did not take notice of our watching it at a distance of 5 meters. It was probably one of last year´s chicks – a bit loose in its feathers. During a visit to a book shop I found the book about Pale Male and was happy to read the story about your hawk family. Dot Brenoe, biologist from Denmark

  • Franck

    i just him outside my balcony, he wasn’t afraid of me, i almost touched him and took several pictures…

  • Vancy

    I will be in New York the 7th to the 13th, when is the best time to see and take pics of Pale Male?

  • Belinda

    Hello Lincolin this is the young lady who engaged in conversation with you at my visit to central park on 05-12-09.It was a pleasure to speak with you and seeing your concern for animals keep up the good work there is a higher power who watches over us this is a gift and talent you have from god may he continue to bless you keep up the good work.oh!just a reminder I don’t think i’ll be making that trip to trini.(smile)

  • Eva Foreman

    Hello, I bought the story book of Pale Male and Lola for my granddaughter age 5 1/2.She lives in Ithaca NY and is coming to see Grandmama (me) on Oct 2 and 3. 2009. Now more than anything she wants to “see” the birds.Is there a way of not to disappoint her? Short of crashing the building what possibilities are there to observe them or their offsprings? How do other parents- grandparents handle this? Any idea is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you ever so much

    Eva Foreman

  • Chris

    I saw him this a.m. (9/23/09) getting pestered by some jays at around 100th street on the East side of the park. He’s HUGE. Hanging around the fallen logs from the storm.

  • colton johnson

    pale male is cool huge and i like pale male he looks so cool that me and my friends saw him flying one day so we wach him

  • Ken J++

    I have been following pale male for a decade and met my soul mate with whom I share this

    Kenny

  • Suzanne Feld

    Saw a hawk, not sure if it was Pale Male or not, over The Pond in Central Park today being harassed by crows. What a stunning sight!

  • gregory

    i dont know if its pale male,but a hawk is living and hunting in a park right across from 100 centre street in manhattan. I work in the yard acroos from the park and noticed the decline of pigeons and rats ,i asked the exterminator if he used bait and told me no. i then decided to look in the park for a answer and then i seen this huge majestic bird sitting on a perch eat ing a rat. after 5 minutes the hawk flew to anothertree,i was amazed at the beauty i witnessed while everyone else in the park seamed to be more concerned with there card games .
    i now go everyday at approximately 1 p.m. to watch him feed. if interested to see this majestic hawk goto baxter strret between bayard and hogan place and look into the trees and just hopefully you will see this hawk which i have named oconnel…i just hope this hawk lives for a while i dont know if the rat poison can have any effect on the hawk…

  • lyra

    are the birds still there? i wonder if the chicks are bigger.i hope they are treated wonderfully. thats all i have to say maybe more thats all for now. from the fan of pale male ,lola and the chicks

  • Manuela

    hey i heard that none of pale males eggs are no haching but i herd that one of his eggs hatched

  • Dego -red

    we have alot of red-tails here in maryland, eagles too! red-sholuder hawks, cooper’s hawks, I have pics of hawks I cant identify ,not sure what they are , who or how can I find out ?

  • Scot

    I have a ten minute mp3 audio clip of Howard Stern talking about “Pale Male” from December of 2004. It’s 1.7 MB. If anybody wants it, send an email to speedy6903@aol.com with “Pale Male” in the subject line.

  • Cathy S of Pelham Manor

    Yesterday a Red Tailed Hawked swooped past me near the Pelham Manor, NY police station. I was so much in awe on the majestic beauty of this bird that had a full sized squirrel as his prey. He must have just gotten the squirrel and dropped him in my driveway. The bird turned toward me and looked me in the eye and flew away. I came back 20 minutes later and my neighbors took photos of the bird who swooped up his capture. It was really a great show of this beautiful bird.

  • Cynthia

    he was on my fire escape in Astoria this afternoon …(or at least a relative). he was quite large and he was gnawing on a little animal. i scared him away . i hope he came back and finished his dinner.

  • Kristen Bieger

    Hey, I have LOTS of showing and prize winning chickens for sale!!! They are $10 each. They lay lots of colorful eggs too! The types of chickens I have are Appenzellers, Jersey Giants, and Americanus. The Appenzellers lay white eggs, the Jersey Giants lay brown eggs, and the mericanus lay green and blue eggs. Please tell me if you are interested!!! Thank You!!! :D

  • Josh Gates

    @Kristen, Have any of the eggs been exposed to the chemical DDT? If not, could they be? Also, I would prefer that any chickens that I purchase have large talons. Would you describe the talons on your chickens to be large? Maybe some of the prizes they won were for having large talons. If so they sound perfect for my experiments.

  • possum removal adelaide

    The hawk is a sign of leadership. Those hawk birds should be preserved and be taken care of.

  • WPGUY

    I saw him last week. He has an amazing presence. To me he is a Giant literally and figuratively Long live Pale Male and when he goes if not before they MUST erect something to him in the Park.

  • steven

    I have 3 hawks living in the trees behind my house, will they eat my cats. I am very concerned, they are quite large. One that I took a picture of has blue eyes, has anyone seen one with blue eyes.

  • Melody

    Re Steve’s post of June 10, 2011 – I’ve never seen or heard of hawk with blue eyes. What type of raptor could this have been?

  • Scott

    My wife was having coffee this morning and a large red tailed hawk landed on the corner post or our deck. The most incredible thing, besides his presence was that he had blue eyes! Is this a recessed gene or something
    Because I had always thought the hawks eyes were brown.

    Thanks!
    Scott in central NewYork

  • Peggy

    My sister got the Pale Male DVD from her library and we both loved it. It was a great teaching lesson to see how the red-tailed hawk takes care of his family. I’ve already shown the movie to all my friends and continue to be in awe of such a huge, magnificent and beautiful creature. There should be a sculpture made of Pale Male after he’s gone since he brought so much joy and excitement to so many people in Central Park.

  • Keith R. Sauerwald

    I ordered a set of dvd’s from Amazon, titled ËXTRAORDINARY BIRDS”, not really knowing what they contained. They arrived here at my home, in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, yesterday. I began watching them, one by one. This afternoon, it was the turn of the dvd, titled “PALE MALE”to show me what it was about. I was totally gobsmacked by the story. That so many people, from the down and outs, to the rich and famous, from the agile to the not so agile, were all just so careing about this bird and his subsequent families, is mind bogling. I sat there, glued to the tv, watching the story unfold.When it finished, I got onto my computer and looked up information about it. I am amazed that Pale Male is still living a very active life in Central Park. I hope that I can get to see him / them, when I vist NY next year.LIVE A SAFE AND HAPPY LIFE, PALE MALE, YOU ARE LOVED BY MILLIONS.

  • Lawrence

    I think he and his flock killed my pet chicken yesterday on the balcony. He came back looking for seconds this morning. I’d like to file a grievance against him.

  • Dewrell

    I loved theese pictures and the stories behind it. I have a question ; I have a D90 with a sigma 50/200 mm how do I get good pictures like you . what time and place do I get up and go .. they also have red tail hawks in the Closters in Manhattan at 193rd and Fort Washington inside the park

  • dewrell

    I made a mistake I have a 50 to 500 mm

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  • Tony

    Just saw a Red Tail on Sunday. I live in the North West Bronx at 230th St and Broadway and saw this awesome creature with a live pigeon in his talons sitting on a fire escape. You think you’ve everything living in NY…..

  • Steven

    I had a Red Tail Hawk land just out side my window on my fire escape railing in Harlem. He hung out for about 20minutes. I was able to open the window and sit only about 3 feet away… He was undisturbed by my presence… I was in awe…

  • G Kaplan

    WHY ARE N.Y.C. PARKS STILL POISONING THEIR HAWKS ?

    Through the years, we repeatedly write NYC park officers to please stop setting rat poison in the parks, but nothing changes.

    Each time hawks are autopsied, rat poison is found, but the park staff claims they do not place rodenticides.

    It is heart breaking to see chicks grow, and find them dead in their nest, or find their parents dead, making the rearing of the chicks so difficult!

    Pale Male, the little hawk that lives in Central Park, lost his mate this Feb.. 26, 2012 during mating season, likely from rat poisoning. Enclosed is proof:

    http://www.palemale.com/lifodefe2620.html

    In Russia, at the Kremlin ( red square), they use Hawks to get rid of mice and rats.
    Why can’t we do likewise? Let’s keep the park free of trash and discourage food vendors in the area, because this is what brings the rodents to the park, threatening the health of the entire community.

    I beg you to please have this situation stopped.

    CC: NYC officials
    james@council.nyc.gov,viverito@council.nyc.gov,gbrewer@council.nyc.gov,;rjackson@council.nyc.gov,;lappin@council.nyc.go,

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