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Inwood Hill Park

The Daily Plant : Thursday, January 18, 2007

Reunited, And It Feels So Good (Part I)

Photo by Kate Gluzberg

Central Park is not the only place in Manhattan to witness Red-tails in love. For several years Inwood Hill Park has been home to a dedicated and successful breeding pair of Red-tailed hawks. Just like with Pale Male and Lola of Central Park, it is the bond that the Inwood pair have with each other and their dedication as parents that have captured the hearts of local birders and park patrons alike.

Red-tailed hawks are generally monogamous birds, remaining with the same mate throughout the breeding season and often pairing for life, as do most birds of prey. A breeding pair of adult Red-tails looks to establish a large enough territory with suitable trees for perching and nesting, open areas to hunt and available sources of food like squirrels and rats. Once they’ve established their territory, they defend it from other raptors looking to set up their own territory. If they are successful as a pair, Red-tails usually raise two to three chicks a breeding season for many years.

However, the 2007 breeding season looked uncertain for the Inwood pair. On December 2, 2006, a park patron observed a Red-tailed hawk stumbling around on the forest ground. He alertly recognized that this was unusual behavior for the species and called the Inwood Nature Center. Ranger Rob Mastrianni quickly responded to the scene and recognized the resident female hawk. The Ranger observed her from a distance close enough to monitor its behavior, but not so close as to stress it out.

Ranger Mastrianni determined that the hawk was acting unusual enough to warrant immediate medical attention. As he approached the bird, it did not even attempt to move away. He gently covered it with his jacket because covering a raptor’s eyes tends to calm it down. After securing its razor sharp talons with a padded glove, Ranger Mastrianni held the hawk in his arms while Ranger Ricardo Amorocho rushed them to the Animal Medical Center. After some initial testing, the hawk was turned over to wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath.

The outlook seemed bleak. The hawk appeared to have a neurological disorder. Tests concluded that it had a dangerously low red blood cell count, which translated into anemia. The future of the Inwood couple hung in the balance.

To be continued in the Monday, January 22 edition of The Daily Plant...

Written by Howard Kreft, with Rob Mastrianni


“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren,
and to do good is my religion.”

Thomas Paine
(1737 – 1809)

Directions to Inwood Hill Park

Know Before You Go

Nature CentersInwood Hill Nature Center

Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, this facility is closed until further notice. To reach our Urban Park Rangers at Inwood Hill Park Park, please call (212) 304-2277.

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