Thursday, July 12, 2012

Pale Male

My friend Wayne is something of a bird whisperer. Whenever he's outside, especially with a camera, birds present themselves. Recently, he got this great shot of a red-tailed hawk in flight.

Red-tails mate for life, but will find a new partner should an old one die or goes missing.

How long do they live?

Perhaps the most famous red-tail in America is Pale Male that claimed Central Park in New York City in 1991. His mating history has been watched closely by dozens of birders for two decades. Pale Male has out-lived six different female hawks: First Love, Chocolate, Blue, Lola, Ginger and Lima. (Two have died from eating poisoned rats, one hit by a car, one disappeared after 9-11, the fate of the other two is unknown.)

In all, Pale Male has fathered and fed over 20 young hawks (known as eyasses), two last year. Today, remarkably, he is over 22 years old and, to my knowledge, is still in and around the Big Apple.

Can my New York friends verify this? 

- Photo by Wayne Mallinger

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