Tuesday, December 21, 2004

PROTEST INFO: ... and more waiting ...

I visited Pale Male and Lola's nest location today (as I did yesterday), remaining in front of 927 Fifth Avenue for two and a half hours. I discovered that nothing has changed (also the same as yesterday). Would it be redundant of me to mention that this was disappointing? Would it be redundant of me to say that, last Friday, the Co-op Board told EJ McAdams from the NYC Audubon Society that nest reinstallation would be completed by today? The latest lie .. er, misrepresentation .. that the Co-op Board told us (today) is that Pale Male and Lola's nest will be reinstalled by Thursday, 23 December. We shall see!

Further adding to my disappointment, I did not see Pale Male or Lola today as I usually do, although I was told that Lola was seen earlier, flying low over the Boathouse Pond in Central Park. I was saddened to learn that a dead Red-tailed Hawk discovered several days ago in Central Park is now thought to be one of Pale Male and Lola's chicks-of-the-year. This would explain why I have not seen this particular bird recently. The bird's body is being necropsied to determine the cause of death, which is suspected to be due to eating a poisoned rat.

It's odd how one person standing in one place can attract so much attention. I stood in the middle of the sidewalk, trying not to freeze to death during my lonely silent vigil, looking through my 10X50 binoculars at the cornice where the nest was originally located. My binoculars are so powerful that I can count people's nose hairs from 50 feet away, so the sight of me standing still with these impressive binoculars really caused a stir among passersby: again and again, people asked me what I was looking at, while others wanted to discuss recent events. One family told me they were visiting from Seattle (my beloved other home!) and reported that the local news media there was providing daily coverage to Pale Male and Lola's plight. As I explained the situation to interested onlookers, I realized once more that there are many ways to provide information and to make an impression on the public and I tend to work best on an individual or small-group basis. Needless to say, I hope today's contribution on behalf of Pale Male and Lola's cause was effective, even though I made it in my own very quiet and unassuming way.

So I had my binoculars today instead of my notebook because I had been looking at a rarely-seen vagrant Boreal Owl, Aegolius funereus, who was snoozing in a spruce tree near The Tavern on The Green. While I held my silent vigil, I watched the antics of Central Park birds when no one was questioning me. I was particularly enchanted by several white-breasted nuthatches, Sitta carolinensis carolinensis, circling the large tree branches above my head, oblivious to gravity, while a tufted titmouse, Baeolophus bicolor, chattered softly from a bush near me, puffed into a nearly perfect ball, looking like a Christmas ornament instead of a bird.

Unexpectedly, Mary Tyler Moore stepped out of the building and waved at the doorman before walking away. I had never before seen her in real life, so I was surprised by how thin and brittle she appeared. Sometime after my toes and fingers had frozen (despite my wool socks and fleece gloves), I saw a solidly-built white man leave the building. He was wearing a dirty orange baseball cap, a navy blue wool peacoat, jeans and a rather nice pair of black shoes. I immediately focused my binoculars on him, magnifying him into a giant with monstrous proportions. Unfortunately, he had his head tilted so I was unable to properly census his nose hairs. He stood outside the building entrance, stared straight into my eyes and then dialed his cell phone.

I accepted his challenge with a soft chuckle and kept my binoculars trained on him. Jabbering on his cell phone, he leaned back to look up at the cornice. He looked back at me, still talking on his phone. He finally walked across the street to the Central Park side of the street where I was located and stood on the sidewalk, talking on his phone all this time.

Suddenly pleased with this little game, I moved into the middle of the cobblestone sidewalk where I was easily visible to him and continued to watch him through my binoculars. He became increasingly nervous. Finally, after a few minutes, I expected him to approach me to scream in my face because he was so obviously agitated. But after a quick glance at me, he instead turned his back to me, walked south along the sidewalk and hid behind a large tree. Still talking on his cell phone. A few minutes later, he cautiously peeked around the tree at me. (Yes, I was still staring at him through my binoculars). He hid behind the trunk again. By this time, this entire event began to seem ridiculous, even silly, but I am a dedicated watcher and I was curious to see what he would do next.

The chunky man continued south along Fifth Avenue after a few more minutes of hiding behind trees, walked across a cross street, hid behind another tree and peered back at me (yes, I was still staring at him). He ended his phone conversation and returned to the sidewalk, then turned to walk backwards while looking at me (yes, I was still staring) before he walked out into the traffic that was stopped in middle of Fifth Avenue. He hailed a cab and quickly disappeared into its dark maw.

I was quite entertained with this unexpected turn of events. Even though I wasn't sure of this man's identity, I enjoyed intimidating him by simply staring at him through my binoculars. In fact, if I had a camera with a telephoto lens, I would have taken his picture, too. My sudden flash of malice was partially triggered by the absence of any progress on nest restoration and partially by events that transpired last week and throughout the weekend.

According to my sources, the building residents hired a cameraman [named Anthony, see peer reviews below for more information and a link to his picture] to videotape us while we protested. This tape is being reviewed by the residents and their lawyers to identify us and to file complaints with the police so we can be arrested and charged with crimes. Unfortunately, I was captured on video by this cameraman on Friday while talking with EJ McAdams, who is negoting reinstallation of the nest spikes with the Co-op Board (hopefully, asking for information while standing on a public sidewalk is still legal, otherwise, I can look forward to free room and board for an undetermined length of time).

So, not to change the subject, but when I returned to Pale Male and Lola's original nest site today, I was determined to write something for all of you who wrote to me to complain that I did not tell you what is happening at their building right now. I hope you appreciate my efforts to tell an entertaining (and true!) story despite the fact that "a whole lot of nothing" happened today. Unfortunately, the silly nonsense reported here is what "a whole lot of nothing" looks like.

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© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist

4 Peer Reviews:

Blogger Dani said...

Hahaha, great story about staring at that man with your binoculars! I only wish I was there to watch him go from tree to tree. :-D

7:47 PM  
Blogger bwren said...

I check in every day for news. Whatever you have is news. Thank you.

If you find yourself standing solitary vigil please know that you aren't alone. Even though I'm physically on the opposite coast, I am standing vigil in spirit, every day.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Ingrid said...

Meet Anthony here:

10:04 PM  
Blogger kiki said...

I don't think the residents of 927 Fifth Avenue can have a reasonable expectation of privacy on the sidewalk across the street from their building. All the same, Hedwig, be careful. Don't go near any one them, and play by the rules. Perhaps with photographs/video, you could build a case against them for harrasment, malicious prosecution etc. I'll give more advice when I pass the Bar Exam

6:44 PM  

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