Airdate: May 20, 1999
Scientist: Marie Winn
RED TAILED HAWKS- Room with a View
A pair of Red Tailed hawks found rent free accommodation on a New York City high rise.
Available this spring in New York City: it's a 12th floor accommodation with sweeping views of Central Park. It's rent free and, if you've got eyes like a hawk, there's all the food you'd ever want across the street. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.
Marie Winn is the author of Red Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park. She tells the story of a family of Red Tailed hawks that unexpectedly took up residence on the facade of an apartment building in New York City.
"The nest is located above the middle window of an apartment on the twelfth floor of this beautiful and very, very expensive co-op building on Fifth Avenue."
The Red Tailed hawks probably pick their perch for much the same reasons that human residents chose to live in the apartments inside: it's the view of Central Park. And to the hawks, the park proved to be an ideal hunting ground.
"They spent a lot of their days sitting out here looking for prey. Pigeons were a very, a very energy effective source of food for them, cause you've got a lot of meat on one catch. Rats too, now, plenty of rats in Central Park. And rats are more natural to Red Tailed hawks since they are generally a rodent eating species. And the rats here are pretty meaty. So they lucked out here. They found themselves a great food source."
This month, if all goes well, the nest will be home to new generation of hawk chicks. The proud parents will take turns hunting pigeons and rats, and they'll share what they catch with their young.
Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.