Find out about the Hawk of Vigilance, and how he can help tame
3, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 629
The Hawk Father Of New York City
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
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.
behavior is not like most red-tails
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
winning documentary was shown at the American Museum of Natural
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
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
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
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
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
Hawks are usually Terrorized by humans.
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.
Hawk-Watchers have stood as Sentinels of Vigilance over Pale Male
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
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.
Terrorism like a Hawk - Become like Pale Male's Hawk-Watchers
2--The Trouble With Tribbles--They Hunt Down Terrorists
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