Friday, August 21, 2009

Pale Male

Maybe you missed this singular tale, which New Yorkers have embraced and taken to their hearts. I was looking over a list of DVD's and came across the documentary, "Nature, Pale Male,(2003)", which I saw a while ago on PBS, on TV.
A Redtail Hawk decided to make his home on the roof of a very posh 5th Avenue apartment building. Some very influential and celebrated folks live in this building, and will at some point undertake a battle centering on Pale Male, a name that appeared and stayed. New Yorkers embraced the presence of the Redtail, following his swooping glides into Central Park, hovering over 5th Avenue, and then alighting in the nest he built atop this ritzy building. Daily, photographers, nature lovers, and just everyday strollers, crowded the sidewalk across the street from the building, heads tilted backwards to view the activity. I stood there in their midst many times, also mesmerized by the show.
Then Lola arrived, the perfect mate for Pale Male, joining him in his daily swoops, not averse to living atop the rich and famous. Year in and year out, chicks were added to the nest, and gradually encouraged to join in the familial flight.
Then in Dec. 2004, the building's co-op board, possibly overwhelmed by the popularity of their location, finally decided to have the nest removed. It seems that all the attention was extremely disturbing to some of the tenants, who feared losing their anonymity. But others, Mary Tyler Moore included, and perhaps the best known, demanded that the nest remain.
The odds seemed to work against the nesters, and the anti-bird residents got the City to tear down the elaborate nest. But, do not give up just yet! What follows is an "only in New York" story. Because there was such an outcry from the myriad fans of this urban legend, the spirit of this great venture overcame the destruction. The contraption that was built to prevent the Hawks from rebuilding the nest was dismantled and the birds returned!
I recommend this DVD, only about an hour in length. Also a new documentary has come out, which I haven't seen, "The Legend of the Pale Male", which I hope to catch.

The nest atop the building.
For current , up to the minute photos go to
Also check out Wikipedia.


alaine@éclectique said...

We always loved birds but since moving to the country 10 years ago, we now live with them on a daily basis (our courtyard is always a mess of poo!). They are so fascinating, intelligent, funny and loyal! I love that last pic.

Lyn said...

Hi Alaine-
The sky is full of birds here too,and of course we have millions of pidgeons underfoot, begging for crumbs!

Jeane Myers said...

oh, Pale Male, one of my favorite stories from PBS! it touched my heart and made me cry - such a wonderful story of perserverence!

Lyn said...

Hi Jeane-
My hero! What a thrill to watch him soar over the park..he brought so many together.

Unknown said...

Hi Lyn,

What a heart warming tale - and good on MTM! I think I'd be happy that such a "cool" bird had chosen to take up residence with the rich and famous - so long as I wasn't being pooped on or used for hunting practise!

Lyn said...

Hi Derrick-
There are birds who touch down on my window sill, 14th floor, or swoop by..and cause a minor panic in Milo.
The trees in the park are alive with birdsong!


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