Thursday, December 16, 2004

Co-Op Board Approves Famous Hawks' Return

Co-Op Board Approves Famous Hawks' Return

Manhattan Hawks Allowed to Rebuild Nest

1 hour, 1 minute ago U.S. National - AP

By LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK - A week after two red-tailed hawks were evicted from their aerie outside a luxury apartment building, the board that runs the high-rise on Fifth Avenue has given in to the demands of bird lovers and agreed to let Pale Male and Lola rebuild their nest.

AP Photo

Slideshow: Hawks Evicted From NYC Perch

Now the question is whether the birds that flew the co-op will come home to roost.

The possible return of Pale Male and Lola came after a week of angry protests and bizarre Big Apple street theater on a stately block of Manhattan. Women chanted with stuffed birds on their heads, ambulance sirens screamed in support of the hawks, and a 13-year-old girl tap-danced in a cow costume in the middle of Fifth Avenue.

The tale of two hawks began a decade ago, when Pale Male took up residence at 927 Fifth Ave. With a succession of mates, he raised 25 chicks to the delight of many New Yorkers, who watched the brood through binoculars and telescopes. Each year, more sticks were added until the nest, on an arched cornice outside a 12th-floor window, came to weigh 200 to 300 pounds.

Finally, on Dec. 7, the board had the nest pulled down and carried away, citing hazards from falling debris, including the occasional squirrel, pigeon or rat carcass flung out of the nest by the hawks after feeding. The board also feared the nest would weaken the cornice.

Scores of demonstrators flocked nightly to the corner of 74th and Fifth, often joined by actress Mary Tyler Moore, an ardent hawk advocate who lives in the building. The protesters directed their anger at the co-op board, headed by developer Richard Cohen, the husband of another celebrity: CNN anchor Paula Zahn.

Like many apartment buildings in New York City, the building is a cooperative run by a board of directors.

In a single night outside the building, two women stood with stuffed birds perched on their heads. Car horns blasted in support of the demonstrators.

"Bring back the nest!" about 75 protesters shrieked in unison as building residents looked from their windows in disbelief.

And then, her tap shoes clicking on the pavement, 13-year-old Samantha Brown-Walker, clad in a cow costume with shaking udders, danced in the middle of Fifth Avenue as her mother watched proudly. "MOOOVE Over Co-op Board," read her sign.

On Tuesday, a protester, Lincoln Karim, was arrested and charged with harassing and stalking Zahn and her family. Karim, a video engineer with Associated Press Television News, agreed on Wednesday to stay 1,000 feet away from the building. A court date was set for Jan. 26.

On the same day as the arrest, a deal was announced to restore the pigeon spikes that had anchored the nest, and to install a protective guard rail. The spikes were originally intended to keep pigeons from depositing their droppings on the building.

E.J. McAdams, executive director of NYC Audubon, was confident the hawks would return to their nesting site.

"If we put the spikes up, Pale Male will return," McAdams predicted.

But when last spotted, Pale Male was avoiding the entire scene, scrounging for vermin in Central Park.

1 comment:

Mary said...

As for this eastside hawk ---
Here on the westside we have no eviction of our majestic falcons that grace the Grant's Tomb area. No one would be so foolish as to try and dismantle a rare bird nest here. Paula Zahn & her husband deserve the noteriety they have heaped on themselves! I say keep 1,000 feet from CNN!