Long Live Pale Male
August 29, 2019 10:36 AM   Subscribe

In 1991, a red-tailed hawk settled in New York City. Dubbed Pale Male by birdwatchers, he went on to establish a dynasty of urban hawks - now over 20 individuals strong - who have so embraced city living that they display many distinct behavioral differences from other red-tails. But is Pale Male still alive? There are passionate arguments on both sides of a debate that has been described as "the third rail of the birding world."
posted by showbiz_liz (11 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
There’s also no definitive proof Pale Male is not a vampire

Now we're getting somewhere.
posted by zamboni at 10:54 AM on August 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

No worries, everyone! He's living on my mantelpiece.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:02 AM on August 29, 2019

Pale Male or not those pictures of the red-tail enjoying tasty pigeon lunch are amazing.
posted by The Bellman at 11:04 AM on August 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

Birds are awesome and terrifying. I love/hate them.
posted by Fizz at 11:21 AM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Word of the day: eyas
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:30 AM on August 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

i love all of his precious pigeon-eating offspring, may they rule the skies eternal
posted by poffin boffin at 1:15 PM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

Wherever Accipiter People Congregate
posted by aws17576 at 1:57 PM on August 29, 2019

We've lost a couple fledglings in Tompkins Square the past couple of years to rodenticide, it's been heartbreaking.
posted by praemunire at 2:48 PM on August 29, 2019

EV Grieve is a source for East Village...gossip? And here's there quick blurb about the recent chick death.

The saying "feed a pigeon, breed a rat" is deeply involved here. Tompkins Square is one of the many parks in the city where folks feed the birds with impunity. It's not legal to do and that's hard to enforce. Please don't feed the pigeons because that food is often consumed by the rats as well. (the rats and the pigeons are also not suffering from starvation...)

Also, dump out any standing water you see near your apartment and sweep out any puddles. Mosquitoes are not good for birds or people because of the West Nile Virus risk.

I loved Pale Male as a kid, he was a national news star and my memories of him are swirled in with the Anita Hill hearings, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, and a life where I just generally needed a lot of hope. He was a good bird who provided a lot of that for kid me. As far as I'm concerned, he'll never die.
posted by bilabial at 3:03 PM on August 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

Is no one going to cite Steve Earl's Down Here Below which is how this non-New-Yorker and non-birder, and doubtless many others living in similar ignorance, first learned of Pale Male?
posted by mojohand at 3:59 PM on August 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

These posts will always make me miss rtha.
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:29 PM on August 29, 2019 [14 favorites]

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