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May 2009 (Delacorte Cruelty)

Hi, Lincoln,

Below is Blonsky's message. XXXXXXXX



-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Central Park: Delacorte Theater Roof
Date: Thu, 21 May 2009 13:01:23 -0400
From: Doug Blonsky

To: Karen Anne Kolling

The New York City Department of Parks & Recreation has forwarded your email regarding netting at the Delacorte Theater roof.

There have been no birds separated from their young. The netting in question was installed in late February to replace older netting that was put up last season. Last season's netting was too thin and did not successfully prevent pigeons or sparrows from roosting on the theater rafters. This roosting creates unsanitary conditions under the loggia.
In an effort to prevent nesting in this location this year, a denser fabric was put up well before nesting activity took place. The new netting has prevented pigeons from roosting in the rafters but some sparrows were able to get into small openings that remained where the netting was attached to the wood.
We have identified locations where sparrows have made nests inside the netting. Delacorte staff has been instructed not to alter any of the openings created by the sparrows to ensure that the mothers can get to the nests and care for their young.
The site will be inspected on a daily basis by Delacorte and Central Park Conservancy personnel to ensure the safety of the sparrows and their nests.

Douglas Blonsky
President, Central Park Conservancy
and Central Park Administrator


My roomate is drawing a sketch of one of the photos you took of a redtail hawk published in NGM some years back. We got side tracked by yourphotos. They are all so incredibly beautiful. We enjoyed yourcommentary on as well as the lincoln and friends site. Ijust wanted to say thank you for the photos. Sincerely,Dennison Williams Huck, my roomate, says: "Keep up the fight. Keep them there" (referring the the hawks and other wildlife you photograph in NYC)


Everyday I study your glorious pictures and marvel at the diversity of creatures who occupy Central Park and other areas of your city. In case anyone would be interested, the passage quoted in Roni's email--the one starting "We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals...."--comes from the pen of Henry Beston in his lovely book The Outermost House, written in 1928, I believe. I live on the High Plains of West Texas and send my best wishes to all kindred spirits who seek to relish the beauty and to relieve the hurt of all our fellow creatures.

Sharon K.

How you and I and so many others love love love the same creatures and how powerless we feel to keep them safe we are in CA where at least in our small area our loves do not face the threats as in NYC Thanks as always for sharing your beautiful photos which keep us connected with the ones we do care about 3,000 miles away I heard mating Osprey call today I saw incredible Black headed Grosbeakes and a Robin has been trying to break into our home for 10 days through a closed window no matter what we do she returns we now know that she does not hurt herself, so now she is "temporary family".


For what good it will do I have just emailed Mr. Phillips with the NYC Audubon Society about the appalling treatment of those nesting sparrows. I have seen a lot of heartless treatment of animals and this is just another example. I don't know how people can sleep at night but they do. I check your website everyday to see what is happening with all the birds and other critters you keep tabs on. Thank you for all the great pictures and for being an advocate for our animal friends.


Good Morning Lincoln,

I wanted to let you know that Rosalynn, assistant to Andrew Hamingson the Executive Director of the Public Theatre, called me on my cell and left a message on Friday afternoon.

She said she was calling me back regarding the situation with the birds at the Delacorte Theatre. Her exact words were “We are certainly looking into the matter and taking it very seriously.” She said if I had any questions, to please call her back at 212-539-8691.

Based on what I’ve seen on your website, it doesn’t look like much has been done and wasn’t sure if that was just a standard response to quiet the masses.

Wish I could do more….

Take Care,

Sandy S.


From: Sandy S. Sent: Thursday, May 14, 2009 11:06 AM To: '' Subject: Delacorte Theatre

Hi Lincoln,

I just got off the phone with Rosalynn who is the assistant to Andrew Hamingson, the Executive Director of the Delacorte Theatre. I asked her to take a look at the heartbreaking pictures on your website of the parents trying to get to the crying babies in the nests behind the nets. I asked that she relay the information to Mr. Hamingson, to have someone get out there to take a look at this horrible situation. She was polite and took my contact numbers, stating she would give him my message. I am heartbroken but grateful for all your efforts Lincoln. Getting this information out to us, as sad as it is, brings awareness and the ability for us to reach out to the powers that be to try and get these situations rectified.


Sandy S.



I saw this on the Palemale web site and it broke my heart. Couldn't they have done this earlier or waited for the birds to fledge. Allowing babies to starve to death is in my opinion, very cruel. I'm a member of ASPCA and was hoping that you can look into this. Please??

Here is the page from the web site.


Dale J. Vanyo


My internet has been down and I'm only learning today learning of the horrible cruelty at the Delacorte Theater. Can't believe that it's LEGAL to do this! Is there anything we can do? Contact them maybe? Is it too late fior the trapped babies?

It is so distressing to see such human indifference toward other sentient beings.

This is from "palemaleirregulars", but I have seen it elsewhere before.

"We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

Bless you for all you do.

In gratitude, Roni


Just a note that there are those out there who listen, and shake their heads with you in frustration at our (mankind's) continued non caring of whose lives (animal or human) we affect by our ongoing interest of self/$$$ first and foremost!!!

I do what I can with no $$$ (bird feed has doubled in last year) and no time, busy working to pay the bills, but I want you to know I have soooooooo enjoyed your pics for some time, and realized today I had not gone to site since the winter. Imagine my pleasure at your brand new pics of the 3 *newbies* over CP. Will be here often in next months. THANK YOU SO MUCH for ALL you do!

-- Karen


The first thing I do when I sit down to my computer each day is go to your site. Your account of the netting put up at Delacorte Theater in Central Park brought tears to my eyes and a heaviness to my heart. Here, in Dallas Texas, we have a small park (compared to Central Park) called White Rock Lake where there are many wonderful wildlife species. Sunset Bay is a stop for migrators and has its own permanent residents of Geese, Mallards, Wood Ducks, Muscovies, Nutria, Coyotes, Racoons and various other small critters. I relate with you on so many levels about how our furry and feathered friends are treated by our Parks Department and the general public. Ignorant adults bring their children and dogs off-leash and let them wreak havoc with the fowl. I belong to a group of folks (The Bird Squad) who go to Sunset Bay in the evenings to hang out together, and we try to educate those people, especially the children. We explain how their actions affect the wildlife and most of the people then refrain from what they were doing. We guide them as to how to treat the geese (who all know us as their protectors when we are there) and ducks and they are grateful for the experience they then have by being able to actually interact with the geese by just being still and letting them do their thing. A while back I was instrumental in rounding up people with kayaks to go out on the lake to find the duck that had a plastic six-pack holder wrapped around it's head and beak then cut it off. Happy to say that our "Six-pack" is still alive and well! I also photograph wildlife. Am saving up for a fabulous camera. What equipment do you use?

Anna P.


I recently met a woman named Christy Pennoyer of Audubon Greenwich, CT( ) at a reception for the new DEC commissioner Pete Grannis, sponsored by Environmental Advocates of NY, Rob Moore, Exec. Director. Audubon, Greenwich has come up with a very effective program to help stop lawn pesticide use, and in fact a few towns have now outlawed it. Rob Moore ( is tireless in his work in Albany on environmental issues, and Pete Grannis said as much, even though sometimes they don't agree. You might watn to touch base with these two groups to see if there was a way you could get some help from them, as they've had many successes.


On your website, I read about the horrific bird nesting situation at the Delacorte Theater. I tried calling them today but got a busy signal. Then, I followed up by writing an email to the NYC Audubon Society. Tomorrow, I will call U S Fish & Wildlife in NY. I am familiar with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 because of work I've done here in California in an attempt to save a school's ancient heritage oak trees from the chopping block. According to the MBTA, it is strictly against the law to disturb any nests, or nest making of any bird species with a few exceptions. Unfortunately, non-native birds such as the European Starling and House Sparrow are not included in the Act, along with pigeons. If the birds nesting at the theater are any one of those three birds, then the MBTA will not help. In that scenerio, public outcry would be your strongest ally. However, if you find that any other species' nesting activities or nests have been disrupted, the guilty party can be hit with big fines or imprisonment from USFW. Under the MBTA, all birds are considered migratory even if it means they have migrated only from one tree to the next. I can not think of a bird - except for the 3 species I mentioned - that is not covered under the MBTA. Photographs or physical evidence is powerful in enacting this federal law. Thank you for all you do for wildlife. What you do gives the rest of us who work hard to protect wildlife a reason to keep working diligently toward a better world for all animals. Carol Taggart (Menlo Park, CA) PS I wrote a long letter to USFW at the time Pale Male and Lola's nest was ruthlessly dismantled, and I believe that letter is still in the "Mail" on your website. At that time, I made mention of the MBTA.


I'm hoping you can help me... I see from your website that you have photos as recently as May 12th of Pale Male and Lola at the failed nest. I sent this e-mail to Bruce Yolton asking if it was still a reliable place to view Pale Male, but didn't really get a solid answer from him (see below). I wondered if he is still actively staying at this site and if there was a better time of day or not.? Thanks for your help.

Dianne Rider South Bend, IN


Thank you for caring about the little sparrows.. I just don't understand how people can be so cruel..

Around here there are alot of old barns and the barn swallows come back year after year after flying thousands of miles. They start building their nests of mud and people destroy them because they don't want the mess , instead of rejoicing that the birds have chosen that spot to re-create. I always say that birds have a tough time all throughout the year. They bring us such pleasure but I know that some people never glance up or hear their beautiful songs. I haven't seen an indigo bunting here for years so thankyou for the lovely photographs. What an incredible colour blue.

Thanks again, Norma H.


I saw your pictures of the screen put over the babies and my heart is breaking.

You've done so much already with the pollution control, not to mention everything you've done for PaleMale and I hate to put this on you but you've got to do something before the babies die!

A suggestion would be to get Mary Tyler Moore involved. So much emphasis is put on "celebrity." Surely if MTM starts squawking about the screen, it would be removed pronto. The only other thing I could think of is removing it yourself under cover of darkness.

Good luck with it -- the birds are counting on you.

Marie Frank

Ex-New Yorker now living in Atlanta Georgia


Hi Lincoln,

I just read your incomplete response to Adrian Benepe based on the letter he sent to me. Your letter is really powerful and I thank you for responding, as my knowledge is super limited based on my Florida location. The only thing that I may suggest and I hope you’re not offended, is that substitute the word “asinine” with something a bit less offensive. The rest of the letter and needless to say the links to your photos (that speak a thousand words) are very strong and passionate. I know that it is difficult and that you want to scream from the rooftops that surround you, but I think that one word might be powerful enough to turn him off and not allow him to be open to the rest of your comments.

God Bless you my friend.

Sandy Schnettler


Hi Lincoln,

I just got off the phone with Rosalynn who is the assistant to Andrew Hamingson, the Executive Director of the Delacorte Theatre. I asked her to take a look at the heartbreaking pictures on your website of the parents trying to get to the crying babies in the nests behind the nets. I asked that she relay the information to Mr. Hamingson, to have someone get out there to take a look at this horrible situation. She was polite and took my contact numbers, stating she would give him my message.

I am heartbroken but grateful for all your efforts Lincoln. Getting this information out to us, as sad as it is, brings awareness and the ability for us to reach out to the powers that be to try and get these situations rectified.


Sandy S.


My heart broke when I read about the baby sparrows. There are heartless people in this world. I called my bank several months ago about some pigeons trapped in a mesh netting over the bank drive in area. Weather was VERY hot and I told the stupid lady on the phone that they would die if not released. She said that is the general idea. So I called the society for prevention of cruelty to animals and they said unfortunately the pigeons were not on the endangered list. I called the bank back and left a message for the bank president. All they would have had to do was open the mesh just a little so they could get out. Made me so sad.

Janie Crippen Houston Texas


Here's the one address for the Delacourt Theater that seems not to bounce or have other problems:


I was horrified to read of the Delacorte Theater's netting off part of their roof, trapping baby birds to starve to death underneath the netting. The photos on the net of the parent birds trying desperately to get to their young are heartbreaking.

Please remove this netting until the birds fledge, if any now trapped behind it have managed to survive.

It is also shameful that the Central Park Conservancy worker called to the scene refused to do anything about this animal cruelty.

Karen Anne Kolling


Lincoln ….. Take as many people as you can (adults and children) to the Delacorte Theatre in protest of our precious, feathered friends -- how cruel! A lot of these people are mothers themselves and ought to know better! Joe


Here are my thoughts on the letter: I think it's valuable to have a dialogue with him, as he obviously does value the bird life, but doesn't yet realize the damage the current practices are doing. I find it's good to maintain open relations to try to work together to solve such problems, and you both have expertise to do so. For example, I would take out accusatory words like "asinine" which attack him personally, and instead say you'd like to work together to achieve certain goals, then list the goals: 1. Figure out a way to keep discarded fishing line from becoming a danger to the wildlife.2. Work together to solve the problem of kite string catching in the trees and endangering bird life3. Share information on the rodenticides that are least harmful to other wildlife.etc ..... Tell him what you'd be willing to volunteer to do to reach these goals and ask how you could work together on it. I watched a program on CBS recently called "The Doctors". A doctor in the audience was quite frustrated because he has studies that show vaccines are harmful to babies, but the traditional medical establishment doesn't listen. He was very emotional and started yelling at the doctors in frustration. The host doctor said,"When you're mad at me, and call out in anger, you only make me defensive. We want to hear what you have to say, but please just explain your points as we would like to learn." THe man then did just that and they had a good dialogue. It would be great if you could do that with Adrian. He has the power to change things, if he can get the right information in the right way. Just a few thoughts.Keep up your great work!Marcia


Absolutely HORRIBLE!!! Man is so cruel. I'd try to free them myself. There must be some humane organization in NYC that can help. What about the ASPCA??



I am so upset about the nesting baby birds that are trapped. Has anyone done anything to undo that heartless situation.The people that run Central Park should all be fired and they should hire more compassionate people to work there.Thanks for making the public aware of this Lincoln. Good work,Gini