Houston Street Mishaps

It is June 19th, 11 days since the first baby fledged. The Houston Street nest is empty and what could have been a beautiful scene at this spot...

is now just empty and quiet and lacking.

All the happy voices and eager minds have disappeared. Perhaps they have found something else to be happy about.

When I walked around on this day I felt like something was ceratainly missing.

I had looked forward to the bright eyes looking up into the tree with lots of questions and with lots of smiles.


All three Houston Street baby hawks have now fledged and have all been taken away. After my experience on Friday evening I now have mixed feelings about releasing the babies back in this neighborhood. I am ashamed but not afraid to admit that I may have been wrong to be so adamant about having the babies left where they were and I may be wrong about wanting to have them back in this neighborhood. The foundation of my protest to have the birds returned or left where they were in Houston Street depended in the faith I had in the residents to watch over them. The majority of these residents and neighbors were extremely willing and very eager to look after the baby hawks but being their first experience with this sort of thing I see there is a long way to go before a baby hawk can have the room and respect it needs to grow up there. In Central Park the baby hawks also meet with some difficulty especially when they spend extended periods on the ground, which is inevitable, to play with sticks and to chase after squirrels. In Central Park there are many occasions when an appealing voice is necessary to keep back both park goers and even park employees from interfering with the exploring hawks.
Above all however, the New York Police Department which operate in this Houston Street area is absolutely unfit to deal with both people and even worse, these delicate animals. Thus far, all the police which I encountered on Houston Street behave more like thugs rather than courteous, professional officers of the law. They are never willing to listen to reason and on every occasion displayed themselves as rough obstinate human beings of a very low grade.
No one that I have spoken to on Houston Street can understand why the police gets involved with the hawks at all. They never showed any sign of interest for all these months and especially these last few weeks. Why would a precinct send a rediculous number of police officers to a scene for such a thing as a 'baby bird on the ground'?
I believe with some more patience and talking to the residents and neighbors on Houston Street it will be possible to create a favorable environment for the baby hawks but as for the conduct of the police officers I have absolutely no hope. If ever there was an urgent need to reform a city agency, the NYPD may certainly be the most necessary one.

The second baby hawk fledged on Monday evening (June 9th).

From a young man I met on Wednesday evening in the middle of Houston Street:
The baby hawk, during one of its flapping exercises lifted out of the nest and flapped down to the sidewalk under the nest. A young man watched this happen and went to the hawks aid on the north side of Houston Street. The baby hawk walked and flapped its way toward the east side of the Houston Street as the young man tried to put his shirt over it. At the SE corner of the school onto which the nest is built the young man encountered a police car who was observing him trying to make contact with the hawk. The young man was warned by the cops not to touch the bird or else he could get into trouble. The young man backed away and could give no more information at that point.

I have no credible account of how the baby hawk ended up on the same lawn as his sibling the day before. The lawn is located more than 100 yards south of the nest on Houston Street.

The baby hawk was seen perched on a hedge at the NE entrance of the 13 story Baruch Houses. At least two witness claim it was chasing after a foraging rat at the edge of the building. One witness told me that she made a 911 call after seeing several men posing for photographs with the bird. She thought they were getting too close and was concerned for the bird's welfare.

From eight separate witnesses between 5:30PM & 8:30PM:

A man from Animal Care & Control approached the baby hawk with a pole with a loop of rope at the front end. The loop of rope was placed around the baby hawk’s neck and the bird was dragged toward him. Holding the baby hawk suspended by its neck at the end of the pole the man roughly placed the bird into a bag and shut the top of the bag with a drawstring. The bag with the bird in it was taken to a van where the bird was taken out of the bag and placed into a wire cage.

Prior to the bird being picked up one police officer warned the crowd of people who had gathered that if anyone tried to interfere that they would be arrested.

As of 10:00PM on Wednesday June 11th, the Houston Street Mom remained perched on a security lamp about 20 feet from the nest containing the last little baby hawk.

Center for Animal Care & Control
326 East 110th Street
New York, NY 10029
(between 1st and 2nd Avenues)
(212) 788 4000


The second baby hawk from Houston Street fledged sometime between Monday night (June 9th) and Tuesday morning. It ended up on the same lawn in the Baruch Houses and was taken away by Animal Care and Control just like the first.

The Houston Street baby on the day before he fledged. This baby was born on April 24th., and it fledged on June 8th--a total of 44 days on it's nest. 44 days is well within the average for a fledge. For Palemale's babies it happened in 1995 and also in 2004. The Houston Street baby flew a distance of 100 yards from its nest on its maiden flight. This is approx. four times the average distance of Palemale's babies.
The Houston Street baby did everything normal on Sunday. It fledged on its 46th day of hatching (Apr 24th -June 8th). It flew an impressive horizontal distance of 100 yards--IT DID NOT FALL! The baby sadly, was taken away on its first fledged day and shuttled around many hands all of which keeps lessening its chances of total independence from humans. The baby hawk was then handed over to Bobby Horvath in Long Island.
The baby was returned to Houston Street on Monday much to my surprise, but knowing in whose hands it was I knew that it was too good to be true. It was again taken away on the same day, the rehabilitator claiming that it was not able to fly properly so he took it back to his home. It is perfectly normal on the first few days of fledging for the babies to remain inactive--we've all watched them for years. In 2005 Palemale Jr & Charlotte's baby stayed on a rooftop for almost two days before beginning its adventure of learning to move around. They also allow people to get too close to them initially. I have on many occasions put fear into them by chasing them away so they learn to keep their distance. By not allowing the baby hawk to remain in the environment which it will soon have to get used to. Instead the rehabilitator shuttled it back to Long Island where it will be stuffed in a cage and fed frozen rats until Mr Human decides it'll be a good time to bring it back. What sense does that make? If he believes that the hawk cannot fly well enough presently how would keeping int in a box or a cage improve it. What can be better for the baby hawk that to return it to it's parents who are the only fit teachers for it? If the baby hawk meets with any mishaps if returned to its parents then let it be so. Let them learn to deal with that! If it has to fly into a bus and get killed let it be so, then its siblings and parents can deal with those situations in the future. This rehabilitator has learned nothing from the past! One of the first things he did was to but a band on this poor animal! A red-tailed hawk should only be banded when it is part of an 'official research program'. It is illegal to band a red-tailed hawk outside of this purpose!
This baby hawk must be returned to Houston Street immediately! Bobby Horvath is still playing games though he has changed his strategy! He brought the bird back on Monday under the pretence that he was trying to do the right thing and then immediately took it away again. This baby hawk will be better off under the care of its natural parents regardless of any risks involved. There may be the possibility of people in the neighborhood wanting to capture these babies to sell them but this has to be addressed like any other crime. This should not be a reason for keeping the baby away from its parents!

The oldest baby (presumably) fledged on Sunday morning. The baby flew skillfully across the busy Houston Street and landed on a tree about 100 yards south of its nest. Not liking the bouncing of the tree branches she (?) floated down to a fenced lawn next to one of the Baruch Houses and began to explore the world she watched for the last few weeks.

For the last several weeks I told as many people in the neighborhood as I was able that this was going to happen soon. I had warned them not to call '911'. But when the poor baby hawk landed on a lawn near their apartments, some neighbors who watched from their windows at the baby hopping around the ground were awed by the strange sight and thought calling '911' was the right thing to do.

When I arrived the police and Animal Care & Control were already there. They had placed the poor baby in a box and were hauling it away to the Animal Care & Control facility.

I begged them to release the poor thing but our NYPD and Animal Care and Control officers are cold and rigid, not to mention stubborn.

All the residents were yelling and begging the police to leave the baby hawk alone but those cold heartless officers did not listen. "Release that baby hawk!" yelled one little Hispanic boy on his bicycle who had become a regular watcher.

Some kids asked me if the baby was going to come back to his little brother and sister. "We all have to make sure it does" I told them.

This woman who lives in the building where the baby hawk flew cried and begged them to leave the hawk alone but no one listened. Some of the NYPD officers were laughing. "What are you a bird expert or something?" one unfeeling officer asked me.
"No, I'm not an expert" I answered, "I just have a reasonable amount of common sense!"

They drove off with the bird and would not give me any information except for; "We are acting in the best interest of the animal!"
A few minutes after all the cops had left almost everyone had disappeared from the scene. I wanted to keep them together to encourage them to demand that the baby hawk be brought back, but it appeared that they were not so surprised by what had happened and didn't hold out much hope for anything to happen in their favor. I cried out to the last few which still loitered around, "Don't let them get away with this!" I said to them. I heard one woman's voice say "the one happy thing..." by the time I looked back at her she had stopped speaking and just shook her head.

In a world where we proclaim ourselves to be superior and rational, it took more than a dozen law enforcement officials to rush to a quiet lawn and manhandle an innocent baby bird into a box to take it away from its parent's care because they thought they knew a better way to take care of the poor creature. In a neighborhood already plagued with negativity the one budding morsel of positiveness was rudely snatched away without the least bit of caring.

"It's your fault!" one woman said to me when the commotion had subsided, "You got me hooked on those damned birds and now they're going to take them all away!"

Here is the little information which I gathered :

Animal Care & Control: (212) 788-4000
The bird arrived around 1:30PM in perfect health. It was examined and nothing was found wrong with it. It was released without any treatment to an undisclosed 'rehabilitator'.

NYPD 9th Precinct: (212) 477-7811
There was absolutely no reason for these people to take this baby hawk away. Consider Palemale & Lola's kids who flew into windows, hanged upside down on trees and windows--one even broke his beak! But they all did what they had to do, tripped and fell and make it on their own.

DEC Law Enforcement Region 2: M-F 8AM - 4:30PM: (718) 482-4885
DEC Law Enforce. 24 Hr Dispatch: (877) 457-5680

Spoke to Lt. Desotelle at 8:30AM June 9th; I asked him to call AC&C to find out where the baby hawk was taken and impressed on him how important it was to get the bird back to its parents and siblings.