Lola and Pale Male, the red tailed hawk pair of 5th Avenue/Central Park fame, once again could not hatch their clutch of eggs this spring, even though they did everything they could. Their descendents have tried as well with deaths this spring by rodent poison.
These are canaries-in-the-coal-mine tales for us. If anyone cares. More on the flip.
While living in NYC, I followed this famous pair and each year this couple tried to produce offspring without luck. Taking a walk to the boat pond to sit and watch the nest, looking periodically through the telescope set up for that purpose, was a purposeful outing. Following the story online thanks to Lincoln Karim and his hobby of telling it, was a daily read each spring. This spring their grand-babies have tales of tragedy, as well as the failure-to-produce problems of their grandparents.
The best nature writing, in my mind, is that by the Manhattan hobbyist Karim who fell in love with Lola and Pale Male and has gone on to document, through photographs with minimal copy, almost daily, their lives and that of their living young. What we are doing, as humans, to our environment, is showing up in the struggles of these birds -- chewing gum tossed on the ground, pesticides and rodent poison and such -- are wreaking havoc on the food chain and he follows it with visuals that are so engaging and writing from the heart of a passionate nature lover. The struggle of these birds, which mate for life, and try raise their young in such an urban environment, is captured with such photographic detail and is a story with lessons for us. This story engages New Yorkers with a passion as they have such little wildlife to observe, which, with our monoculture and agricultural and land-use methods is something we all are encountering.
Sad sad stories are told this spring: The nest of the Riverdale pair of red tail hawks, which are descendents of Pale Male and Lola, had a tragedy: the mother took one of her three baby hawks from the nest and the dead baby was tested by U.C. Davis' lab -- tests revealed lethal levels of two anti-coagulant rodent poisons. More tests are to follow. The photographer who famously journals the lives of NYC's red tail hawk pairs retrieved the nest and has followed the testing of the two other dead baby hawks, through the Wildlife Pathology Unit. The photo above is of the mother, the descendant of Pale Male and Lola, with one of her babies prior to its death.
It makes me wonder what sort of things the cell phone towers and our life ways -- pesticides, the overabundance of nitrogen from fertilizer run off, pollution and such -- will have on us. We wonder what is happening to the songbirds, the bee colonies, the bats in the northeast....
While his work is with a news organization with worries about keeping staff around just to report Nelson Mandela's death, when it comes, and covering Britney Spears, he spends his spare time documenting the natural world around him.