Article Overview:   Find out about the Hawk of Vigilance, and how he can help tame Terrorism.


Tuesday--June 3, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 629
The Hawk Father Of New York City
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

  GROUND ZER0, New York, New York--June 3, 2003-- He's called Pale Male.  He kills pigeons and rats in Central Park.  He sits on a perch within earshot of Woody Allen near 5th Avenue and 77th Street, scanning the 800 acres of Central Park and has fathered nearly two dozen urban children--red-tailed hawks who enjoy the exclusive life of feasting on New York City vermin.

Pale Male is lighter than most red-tailed hawks

      He's had four wives over the past nearly 8 years since his sighting by bird watchers in 1995 who know it is rare that a red-tailed hawk would make an exclusive 8-story apartment building his home.  Mary Tyler Moore lives in the same building.   He's lighter than most red-tailed hawks because of the creamy feathers on his chest, thus his name, Pale Male.
      The human tenants who live in the building are Terrorized by constant bird watchers who form an army of hawk voyeurs, gathering at the boat pond with binoculars and high powered telescopes, still and video cameras, watching every move of the celebrity hawk.   A few years ago the tenants tried to remove the nest, but were warned by the EPA--after hawk watchers blew the whistle on them--that a fine of tens of thousands of dollars would be levied for every stick of the nest they harmed.


Pale Male's behavior is not like most red-tails

       Red-tailed hawks are not urbanites by nature.   They prefer the wild, and rarely nest in anything other than trees.   But Pale Male has New Yorker genes.   Peter Capainolo, an ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History, says Pale Male's behavior is not like most red-tails.  "He acts sometimes like a falcon, catching pigeons in mid-air."   Red-tails commonly capture their prey on the ground or in trees, he said.   Plus, he added, they don't roost on expensive buildings.
      Pale Male has been the subject of books.   Author Mary Winn wrote a book about Pale Male, called "Red-Tails In Love."


The award winning documentary was shown at the American Museum of Natural History

        Since New York is rich in lore of all variety, the story of Pale Male drew my wife's attention.   In keeping with absorbing every ounce of New York City culture, we called the phone number listed in New York Time Out magazine, and put our names on a reservation list to view a new film about Pale Male.
       It was shot and directed by a Belgium hairdresser, Frederic Lilien, who became hooked on hawks by watching the wildlife in Central Park and witnessing Pale Male dive for his food.  The experience changed his life forever.  Last night he presented to theater-filled audience his screening of a film recording five-years of Pale Male's life, and featuring scores of  the 'regular hawk-watchers' who daily--sun or rain--hold vigil over the hawk's every move.  Lilien extended his gratitude to those who assisted him and added,  "Pale Male is a gift to all of us from nature and my gift to do the American Dream."
      Hosted by the New York City Audubon Society, the film received a standing ovation by the more than 500 people who packed the Natural History's Museum theater

'Pale Male' was shot and directed by Frederick Lilien

      Narrated by Joanne Woodward and written by Janet Hess,  the story was as much about the fascination that New Yorkers have with a wild creature becoming a New Yorker, as it was about New Yorkers watching a wild creature.
      While the film noted that Pale Male had fathered 19 children, the director of the film announced that three more of his brood were just leaving the nest.    The regulars at the hawk-watch bench  go so far as to bet on the exact time and date the fledglings will leave the nest, carrying with them the genes of their father--one of the world's most urban red-tailed hawks.
       I found the movie fascinating.
       In a world of sometimes unbearable madness, the pressures of world Terrorism, of economic travails, of political intrigue, here amidst all the madness is a group of people--rich and poor--watching a hawk produce generation after generation of children in an attempt to bring the wild to the civilized.
       Terrorism, in a way, is the wild.
       It is unbridled Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
       Civilization is Vigilance.
       It is Courage to face Fear, Conviction to nullify Intimidation, and Right Action for the Children's Children's to stave off Complacency.
       Pale Male's actions to integrate his wild side with civilization is not unlike the attempt the world is making to reach its hand into the swarming wilderness of Terrorism and tame the wildness of its nature.

Pale Male with his first mate, Blue

       In a way, America's attacks on Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and the upheaval of Terrorism in those states, is a sign of civilization's hand grabbing hold of the Beast of Terror.
       Even though there is much blood and destruction, there is a taming quality.   There is a way for the world to live in harmony with its Beasts of Terror and its Vigilant Members.
       President Bush is in the Middle East at the moment trying to bring a world of urban civilization to a world of primal passions.   There are ways to end the war between the Beasts and Civilized.
       Pale Male signifies an obverse side of that coin.
       Hawks are usually Terrorized by humans.  

Pale Male's and Blue's first brood

  Their instincts are to avoid humans, fearful of them as Terrorists of the Wild.
       But Pale Male has taken the upper hand.
       He has reached out in a bizarre way to integrate himself and his offspring with civilization.  
       Befuddled naturalists might do well to think of Pale Male as the Red-Tailed  Hawk Of Vigilance. 
       In a way, Pale Male is holding out his wings.   He's offering Feathers of Vigilance.
       He's telling the world--the human world--that he has the Courage to overcome his Fear of humans.  That he has the Conviction to not be Intimidated by humans.  And, by creating nearly two dozen offspring, he is willing to pass on the Genes of Vigilance to his children, and to their Children's Children's rather than fall Complacent to the old ways of "beware the humans.


The Hawk-Watchers have stood as Sentinels of Vigilance over Pale Male

      The hawk-watchers have stood as Sentinels of Vigilance over Pale Male, not unlike the spirits of the 3,000 who suffered in the World Trade Center attack stand vigil over America and the world--Sentinels of Vigilance to remind us all to not let Fear, Intimidation or Complacency rule our lives.
        They stopped those who tried to destroy Pale Male's nest, and, their constant watch over his brood and recording his magnificent assimilation into urban life has proven once more the unexpected can be expected, that rules can change, that the wild and untamed can become civilized and part of life.
        Perhaps the G-8, the Middle East, North Korea, and all the critics who think the world is beyond taming need to study the genes of Pale Male.
        If they did, they might believe that Terrorism can be tamed.
        But only if you watch it like a hawk.

Join the Vigilant Hawk-Watchers and help tame Terrorism

Watch Terrorism like a Hawk - Become like Pale Male's Hawk-Watchers


June 2--The Trouble With Tribbles--They Hunt Down Terrorists

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