R'side Park Dad 4/25/2011

Riverside Park Dad (standing) last photographed April 21, 2011.

There is one thing I want to tell you about Riverside Dad.
If this year's Riverside babies survive, one hero in my mind will be Dad. In the days preceding his death, he was such an industrious hunter that we chuckled about him. At one point I said the babies couldn't possibly eat everything he had stored around the park.
I will always believe that Dad's diligence as a provider was critical to Riverside Mom's ability to cope right after his death. She has adjusted well, but there was an inevitable period when she was distressed. Dad's big food cache was there for her while she went through whatever mental process hawks go through when they lose a mate. In those first few days, I saw her pick up cached food multiple times, and I realized that Dad was helping her keep the babies nourished, hydrated and warm even though he was gone.
After I spoke with you about Dad's body being found, I stood by the nest tree feeling useless. The attention devoted to our New York hawks is extraordinary, but in that moment, none of it mattered at all. Photographs, blogs, movies and devoted birdwatchers were meaningless. The only thing that could possibly matter to Mom that day had already been done by Riverside Dad.
Riverside Mom now has the best support humans can give her. I am grateful to those who are helping our beloved hawks, and I am in awe of Mom's intelligence and devotion to her family. On Sunday she seemed a calm, competent mother tending her babies, preening on a branch near the nest, and enjoying a short break on the Normandy. It's still a very tough situation, but I now feel a tiny bit of optimism about this year's nest. And I will always remember the hardworking father whose legacy of squirrels and rats, I believe, made a difference.



Just wanted to say I'm heartbroken about what happened to Riverside dad. I was heartbroken back when Lola went missing, and now this. I really hope things take a turn for the better, because this is just really sad. I really wish people would listen more, and stop putting poisons into the environment.
People just need to start caring. I know I can't make any real difference to the hawks in NYC because I live in Montana, but I really wish there were something I could do. Just know that there are at least two people (myself and my husband) in Montana who are really big fans of the NYC hawks and your photos.
(Honestly, I wish I could go and visit them, sometimes.) My deepest condolences to Palemale, Riverside Mom and the many others who have suffered the perils caused by the human race.

~Ellie aka RedFeather~


I am shocked that NYC is still putting out rat bait where the redtails are nesting. So said that the park Dad has been killed. Please let us know how the Mom is doing. I live in Florida but would help out if I lived up there.
Thanks for your wonderful and beautiful photographs. They make my heart sing. Good luck to Lima and Palemale with their eggs. We are on tinderhooks.
Barbara F.
Port Charlotte, Florida

Love and Peace to you
Me and the Sidekicks


I have grieved for this family before and have been filled with admiration for their strength in spite of Nature's choices. They have persevered so gallantly in spite of loss, but this brings me new heartache. I know the chances that the family will survive this loss is slim. I am sorry that another season will go by without the excitement of watching your lovely pictures of the parents raising their brood.
Thank you for all you do and for your magnificent photographs that permit those of us who live far away to enjoy with you the red tails in the City.
We know that the local family in our yard has been nesting this year, but our view of the nest is now obscured by greenery. We won't know if the birds have been successful again this year until the babies fledge around Mother's Day.

Pat Floersch


I wrote you a few days ago about the WSq redtails; though I did not hear back I did see my email to you on your site, so this must mean that you received it...
I am writing now to ask if you might be willing to lend me a jpeg of the photos you took of the rat poison alerts down at Washington Sq park? I would like to make a flyer to post around the park and don't have any photos or a reasonable camera phone.

Myisha Priest


Thank you for all your work, documenting the beautiful creatures in our urban nature and also showing the brutality some human actions cause to our wildlife neighbors. You have always been an ambassador for those creatures who don't have a voice in the halls of NYC institutions.
I thought we had learned our lesson regarding the dangers and lethality of rodenticides years back when the Riverside eyasses perished. I was so sad to hear about the male's death. The Boatbasin Cafe should be held responsible for their trash and the Parks folks should NEVER be allowed to use Bromadiolone or other deadly pesticides. Even if some don't care about our birds of prey, they should care that the death of these top predators indicate we as humans are also affected by such poisons. They are the 'canaries-in-the-coal-mine' showing how bio-accumulation of toxins kill.
I will write the same folks you write and argue with the Boatbasin Cafe and Parks people who probably dismiss me as a nut. I'm tempted to remove the rat poison boxes but I fear they'd just be replaced. I wish I could do more.
Could you perhaps pick a few of your favorite photos of the Riverside male for us? You may have done this and I may have missed it. I sort of remember one of him flying off from taking a bath on that large rock-hill outcrop just north of the children's playground at 83rd? Or perhaps that was the female; I can't recall.
My heart is heavy. I've cried in years past at the loss of his offspring. Now I cry for him. I will really miss him and hope the family will survive the challenge his death brings.

Keep up the great work,


My heart is breaking. The Riverside Park pair was such a devoted couple. I always looked forward to watching their babies.
Helen in Chicago


I am so sick over the loss of the male. I know this sounds insane but would the female accept dead feeder rats from a lab or store ? Could they somehow be thrown up to the nest for her ? I would be willing to make a donation to help purchase them if it would help keep her & the babies alive. Although I now feel like a total hypocrite because I was always against rats being bred for such purposes. I just wish we could go back in time to when animals ruled & man was not so damn full of himself. I guess I am just babbling but that poor pair have had enough hardship in recent years. Contact me if you think it could be done & need some $$.

Debbie J.


I have been frequent visitor to your website for about 4 years. I've even seen you in Central Park a time or two, but I never wanted to bother you so I just smiled and passed by. Your photographs have kept my heart alive with wonder and love for the birds, animals and insects that you show so vividly, and I thank you. I am writing to you now about the Washington Square Park Red tails. This is my first full year teaching at NYU. My partner and I noticed the nest making activity months ago and told Donna at Palemaleirregulars, but we were afraid to tell NYU because we thought that they would take the nest down. It seems the birds worked their own special brand of magic and now the nest is safe, but especially now with the sad news of the Riverside Dad, what about the rat poison stowed all around the newly renovated park? Can you tell me if there are ways of preventing the city from placing poisoned bait? There is bait literally across the street from the nest. I'm going to write the New York Times Cityblog, who placed the nest camera, and also the office of the president of NYU since it seems J Sexton may really care about the birds. Is there anyone else that you know who I should write or call?

Thank you,
Myisha P.


Condolences on the loss of yet another friend and for no reason other than stupidity I weep for the Riverside dad and all of our Central Park friends who are in danger thanks as always to you for bringing them us those of us who cannot be there Sandra OXOGMB

Bobby Horvath Bobby Horvathbobbyh5800@verizon.net

From: bobbyh5800@verizon.net
Sent: Tue 4/26/11 3:24 PM
To: lincoln_karim@msn.com

It is confirmed dead since Sunday. It has been sent for testing already. It will be difficult for the mother to do everything, keeping babies warm and dry and getting enough food but we will see. I will assist if asked to.


On 04/26/11, Lincoln_Karim S Karim wrote:

Hi Bobby:
It looks like a potential problem in Riverside Park.


Riverside Dad -- not good news

I think that Riverside Dad is gone. We haven't seen him for two days. I stayed until after sunset yesterday and today, and he did not appear. He is such a diligent parent; I assume he would not stay away from new babies if he were alive. Mom is calling and looking for him. Today she found stashed food several times, so I think the babies had enough to eat. Of course, I hope I am wrong, but several reliable people were watching today, and we have been concerned about rat poison, so I don't feel optimistic. Needless to say, if we find him, I will let you know right away.


April 26, 2011. Baiting stations containing deadly anti-coagulant rat poison on Riverside Drive in the heart of the Riverside Park hawk's hunting ground.

April 26, 2011. Baiting stations containing deadly anti-coagulant rat poison on Riverside Drive in the heart of the Riverside Park hawk's hunting ground.