Palemale's First mate

This image was taken by Ann Shanahan in 1995. It is Palemale's mate and the first successful mother of his nest on 927 Fifth Avenue.
Ann gave me the photograph to show me that this female was an early victim of an ill-fitting leg band. I never knew about this since the only accounts I read and head about it were the fickle and gossipy facts surrounding the band. No one had written that the poor bird's foot was swollen and bleeding.

This band was put on by Len Soucy of the NJ Raptor Trust, the experts of all experts apparently. Of course The people who advocate 'banding' will defend their malicious handiwork and suggest that the injury seen here may not be a result of the band. However it is clear to see that whatever the case may be it should be agreed that a nasty piece of metal affixed to a hawks leg can in no way be an enhancement to their ability to have a natural life and can only serve to cause them suffering rather than help them.

Please let us demand to have all banding of animals stopped, beginning with red-tail hawks.
We may consider starting back up the banding practice at some time in the future if and when we ever sort out our own human problems and feel comfortable enough to dare meddle in the affairs of animals whose lives are already close to perfection without our interference.

This is the response I received from Bruce Peterjohn (Chief of The Bird Banding Lab) back in December 2010 when I was pushing for something to be done about the female red-tail hawk from Washington Square:

Dear Mr. Karim:
With all due respect, your photographs do not support your claim that the Red-tailed Hawk's leg is impaired by the bird band. Your photos show that the bird is very capable of using that leg to capture prey (a squirrel), carry prey, and to dismember prey. In essence, it is behaving as a normal wild raptor. We see no need to take any action at this time, but are willing to reassess the situation should circumstances change.

Bruce Peterjohn
Bird Banding Lab

Letter to the Chief of the Bird Banding Lab.

Click here for Riverside Park Dad. (updated 5/2/2011)