Riverside Park Tragedy

October 8, 2008
A few weeks ago I received a call from a resident of Riverside Drive who has stayed in touch with me since the Riverside Park Red-tailed hawk tragedy last May 2008. She gave me details of a community board meeting held sometime in September;



Several concerned residents met with the Department of Health over their concerns of a 'rat problem' in the Riverside Drive area. (These images of the irresponsible garbage disposal at the 79th Street Boat Basin were taken on October 2, 2008)



The decision was final by the end of the meeting...rat poisoning will be continued in this area!



If you visit the 79th Street Boat Basin Cafe especially around the weekend you'll see hundreds of people eating and drinking and smoking under the Westside Highway at 79th Street. You see the kitchen busy with frying and grilling and boiling.



And if your hearing can tolerate it you'll hear the roar of several hundred people yelling at the top of their voices as they eat and drink and smoke.



Most of these yelling, partying, celebrating men and women are voters and as such they can eat what and where they like and they can dump their waste where they like because they have the government on their side.



This government which caters to these voters cares the least for what is right or wrong, and rather do whatever these people who vote them into office demand.



It shouldn't be such a bad system mind you, but it's based on the taste and integrity of these voting men and women.



One can assume that the voting men and women will be responsible enough to have wholesome and reasonable demands.



But just watch all around you and see what these voters are made of...



Unfortunately, they are not made of much, these people!
I understand that Dr Robert Corrigan was present at the meeting. It was this doctor who laughed when I asked him a few months ago to name me one of the 'hundreds' of diseases he claims are spread by rats. He found my question very hilarious but he could not name me one. I pressed him to name me just one of these rat diseases which he did after putting me on hold for 97 seconds--enough time to 'Google' it. I cannot remember the disease he named but neither can he now I'm sure.
"I am going to call up five neighboring hospitals to ask them how many cases of this disease they've diagnosed recently..." I said.
"You are not going to find any!" he said right away. "We have to stop this disease before there are any cases of it." he continued.
"Really, that is very ambitious of you," I said. "How many cases of Lung Cancer do you think I'll find if I called up these hospitals?" I asked him. "What is the Department of Health doing to stop that?". I imagined that he was being entertained by me, most likely sharing the humor with his colleagues in the office.


May, 2008:
Dept of Health & Mental Hygiene Rodenticide

(at 78th Street & Riverside Drive).


These are the people responsible for the rat poisoning outside Riverside Park, specifically at 78th & R'side Dr.
The poison used on the street was Talon-G containing the active ingredient Brodifacoum. Brodifacoum is one of the two poisons discovered in the blood of the 1st baby hawk.


Dr Edgar Butts/Dr Robert (Bobby) Corrigan
Assistant Commissioner
Pest Control Services
Dept Health & Mental Hygiene
212 442-5238


This rodenticide warning sign was posted at the corner of 78th Street & Riverside Drive. It shows that Talon-G was used and it was placed on March 27, 2008. With rodenticides like this the law is 'the label'. This means that the poison must be used in accordance with the 'Directions Of Use' on the label. Only when the directions on the label is disobeyed is the 'Law' broken.


Sherry Duvall Ford, APR
Head, External Communications, Crop Protection
Syngenta Corporation
410 Swing Road | Greensboro, NC 27409
336 632 6107 office
336 209 0457 mobile
336 632 2290 fax


Syngenta Corp manufacturers Talon-G (Brodificoum)

According to Ms. Ford the use of Talon-G around where the sign was posted at 78th St & Riverside Drive was "against label directions"













Talon-G Product Label

Talon-G MSDS

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Riverside Park Rodenticide



This is a photo of one of the many concealed baiting stations (made by Protecta LP, looks like a rock) all over Riverside Park.



Another concealed baiting stations made by Bell Labs.



This is the inside of one of the Protecta LP baiting stations (Protecta LP is only the name of the plastic box. The rodenticide used in all the boxes I checked was 'Generation Mini Blocks, made by LiphaTech)
This poison was identified by an obliging technician at Bell Labs


"Those are Generation Blocks made by LiphaTech. The active ingredient is difethiolone..."


Craig Riekena
Bell Laboratories, Inc.


LiphaTech Product photo

LiphaTech Generation Blocks Label

LiphaTech Generation Blocks MSDS

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Initial visual post-mortem on the Riverside Park babies(May 20, 2008): ______________________________________________________________________


Baby #1 Retrieved Sunday May 11, 2008: Necropsy performed 12:00 Noon Monday May 12, 2008. Normal physical condition. Heavy hemorrhaging in lung cavities, deemed to be the cause of death. Cause of hemorrhaging to be determined by UC Davis toxicology Lab.
10:30PM May 20, 2008 - UC Davis lab reports two anti-coagulant rodenticides found at lethal levels in blood/tissue samples of baby #1


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Baby #2 Retrieved Tuesday May 13, 2008: Necropsy performed Wednesday May 14, 2008. Normal physical condition. Heavy hemorrhaging in lung cavities, deemed to be the cause of death. Cause of hemorrhaging to be determined by Illinois Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Animal Disease Laboratory.


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Baby #3 Retrieved Tuesday May 13, 2008: Necropsy performed Wednesday May 14, 2008. Bird suffered physical trauma. Several broken bones and bruises to flesh. Cause of trauma and whether it occurred before or after death, to be determined. Heavy hemorrhaging in lung cavities just like siblings. Cause of hemorrhaging to be determined by Illinois Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Animal Disease Laboratory.
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May 15, 2008
Some facts about the Riverside Park Red-tailed Hawk nest:






Wednesday May 7th:
This is the last time I photographed the nest. On this bright sunny Wednesday which I took as a vacation day from work I found three healthy babies which showed no signs of anything unusual.


Thursday May 8th:
Cal, Bruce and Rik photographed at least two healthy babies but at that point they had no indication of anything amiss with the nest.


excerps from email dated 5/11/08:

Our doorman at 70 Riverside, on the corner, said that the DOT was paving the ramps overnight on Wed. and Thursday with hot tar, smoke, bright lights, exhaust. Add that to the list of possibilities for this sad tale.

...The doorman said there was much activity on, I believe, both Wed. and Thursday nights with spotlights, hot tar, steam, noise, trucks, etc. He was worried about the birds and wanted to tell them to stop. He goes off duty at midnight, but sometimes leaves later than that. He felt they worked through the night. He'll be on duty evenings this week through Thursday (dinner 9-9:30) in the red brick 6-story building if you want to ask him more questions .... or have me ask more.


Friday May 9th:
Rain all day. No photographer that I know visited the Riverside Park nest to give any evidence that there was any activity from the babies.


My husband, Jack K., observed the mom sitting on the nest "looking forlorn" all day last Friday during the rain, and continuing to sit in the evening, after the rain stopped.


Saturday May 10th:
I arrived at 8:45AM. First thing that caught my eye was a very large piece of brown paper fitted on the SE side of the nest.
On several occasions both parents were present on the nest which did not show any visible signs of instability. Dad brought two medium sized rats to the nest over the next few hours.
Mom attempted to feed the unseen babies but no indication that any of them were active.
I informed several photographers by text messaging that something was wrong.
I left Riverside Park around 2:00PM.
On my way out I met Bruce who continued to watch the nest for movement but saw none.
Sunday May 11th:
7:30AM: Received a call from Cal that Leslie Day was in possession of one dead bay hawk which the mother removed from the nest and dropped on a lawn leading out of Riverside Park.
First dog-walker saw dead hawk on the ground. Fearing that dogs may get it, she picked it up and placed it in a garbage can.
Second dog walker was told by the first what had happened. Leslie Day encountered second dog-walker who described the action of the first dog-walker.
Leslie, accompanied by Cal retrieved the dead hawk from the garbage can, where it was kept at her home in a refrigerator.
8:15PM: I collected the dead baby hawk from Leslie.
9:00PM: The baby hawk's body showed no signs of Frounce Disease. The right eye was missing but the eye socket was fresh and showed no visible signs of disease.
Baby hawk was kept overnight refrigerated but not frozen.


Monday May 12th:
7:30AM: Baby hawk driven up to:
Dr. Ward Stone
Wildlife Resources Center
108 Game Farm Road
Delmar, New York 12054
518-478-3032


12:00Noon: Necropsy performed on baby hawk.
Weight 0.654 Kg. Good muscle development. Showed no signs of malnutrition. Healthy, well fed. A fresh rat's tail was removed from the baby's trachea which was in the process of being swallowed at the time of death.
Heavy hemorrhaging in lung cavities.

Tuesday May 13th:
Sometime during the morning while driving onto the northbound ramp about to enter the Henry Hudson Highway Diana Y. noticed the nest on the side of the road. She continued driving and re-entered Riverside Drive where she came back to the northbound ramp and parked her car close to the fallen nest. She removed the two dead baby hawks and took them home where she kept them in her freezer. Diana made several calls; to the NYC Audubon, the Central Park Conservancy, and the DEC.
The dead baby hawks never left Diana's refrigerator on Tuesday.
I was able to contact Diana from a phone number given by Sandy F. of the NYC Audubon.


5:30PM: Visited the nest site and saw for the first time that the nest was missing. As I came closer I saw it at the side of the road approximately under where it was originally located. Found Bruce examining the fallen nest. Observed the remains of a pigeon at the foot of the nest tree, several feet away from the fallen nest. 6:00PM: Left the fallen nest site with Bruce and went further north where we both saw two RTHs perched on each tower of the Normandy several blocks up from 80th Street. Spent the next hour or so photographing the two hawks assumed to be the parents of the Riverside nest, until they flew south.
I was not able to find them after this.


7:30PM: I picked up most of the fallen nest and placed it in a large shopping bag. I concentrated on the soft part of the nest which contained mostly dried tree bark and or other soft fibrous material. I place several pellet-like debris, clumps of fur and other remains of prey in a clear plastic bag.
The half eaten pigeon which I saw earlier was missing.


9:00PM: The pigeon was picked up by Beth (a frequent photographer of the hawks). Information from Leslie Day allowed me to retrieve the pigeon remains from Beth on Tuesday night. The pigeon was kept in my refrigerator.


Wednesday May 14th:
The two dead baby hawks, all nest material, the pigeon remains and all other items collected from the nest were driven up to Dr Ward Stone by Dominic M.


Awaiting results of toxicology tests which is being performed by: UC Davis


Initial visual post-mortem on the Riverside Park babies:

Baby #1 Retrieved Sunday May 11, 2008: Necropsy performed 12:00 Noon Monday May 12, 2008. Normal physical condition. Heavy hemorrhaging in lung cavities, deemed to be the cause of death. Cause of hemorrhaging to be determined by UC Davis toxicology Lab.

Baby #2 Retrieved Tuesday May 13, 2008: Necropsy performed Wednesday May 14, 2008. Normal physical condition. Heavy hemorrhaging in lung cavities, deemed to be the cause of death. Cause of hemorrhaging to be determined by Illinois Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Animal Disease Laboratory.

Baby #3 Retrieved Tuesday May 13, 2008: Necropsy performed Wednesday May 14, 2008. Bird suffered physical trauma. Several broken bones and bruises to flesh. Cause of trauma and whether it occurred before or after death, to be determined. Heavy hemorrhaging in lung cavities just like siblings. Cause of hemorrhaging to be determined by Illinois Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Animal Disease Laboratory.


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ritr