Wednesday, December 08, 2004

PROTEST INFO: Pale Male and Lola's Nest Pillaged by People

Complete Contact Information for one-stop protesting efficiency
Newest Content Added: 11 December 229 pm (EST)

9 December, 1046 am EST: Pale Male was circling low over the Natural History Museum for five or six minutes, shrieking loudly. He typically is silent and daily perches on window ledges that face Central Park or atop the flag pole in front of the museum. Three to five times per week, he eats pigeons while sitting on the window ledges, leaving the bones behind. This is the first time I have seen him since Tuesday, early afternoon. I have watched the behavior of Pale Male (especially) for more than 2 years so I am familar with him. Shrieking and refusing to perch on the window ledges is unusual behavior for this bird and suggests that he is distressed.

If you are like me, you were outraged to learn that Pale Male and Lola's nest was destroyed by private contractors on the afternoon of 7 December, under the cover of a truly awful rainstorm. According to my understanding, harassment or destruction of an active nest is illegal and can be prosecuted under US Fish and Wildlife Laws. Based upon many people's observations, this was an active nest up until the time it was removed. The news media is going nuts over this, so this story will not "go away" soon.

Who are Pale Male and Lola?* The pair of wild Red-tailed Hawks who nest on a ledge of an apartment building. Their building is located on 927 5th Avenue on Manhattan's Upper East Side, across the street from Central Park (Pale Male -- so named because he is unusually pale for a Red-tailed Hawk -- is pictured above). Pale Male and his succession of companions have successfully raised 23 Red-tailed Hawks to independence in the past 10 years. These birds are known as the "Central Park Red-tailed Hawks" because they live in Central Park and help to control the burgeoning pigeon and rodent populations.

Background Information:

9 December, 522 pm EST:
Pale Male and Lola's plight are now international news

9 December Op-Ed in NY Times

8 December Reuters News story

Pale Male's Website

Legal Controversy? (10 December 658 am EST) One reader, a law student at Berkeley, thinks so.

Did the US Fish and Wildlife Service disregard its own laws when it approved nest removal?


To protest the removal of Pale Male and Lola's nest, write your letter and then mailing, FAXing AND emailing copies to the following people (listed below).

Some things to remember when writing effective protest letters:

1. Your words as well as your numbers are important -- numbers are determined by the number of letters received and the method of delivery used to send them (US mail receives the greatest respect but is the slowest to be delivered).
2. Deliver your letter of protest using both email and USmail at least. If you have access to a FAX machine, use that delivery method, too.
3. Clearly state; (a) the problem (removal of Pale Male and Lola's nest), (b) your disapproval and (c) your desired solution (replace the spikes on the nest ledge so the hawks can rebuild their nest OR provide a nesting platform on the original building, on nearby buildings or in Central Park so the birds can renest in a welcoming environment. (of course, there is no guarantee the birds will accept a new site). This must occur soon so the birds can rebuild their nest before they begin breeding in February.)
4. Concise and clearly-worded letters (250-500 words) are most effective.
5. Sign your letter with your name and contact information (unsigned letters or letters without contact information are ignored and discarded).

Other things to include in your protest letters;

I suggest you get as much mileage as you can from your letters of protest. If you are a constituent of any of the political animals listed below, be sure to tell them how their reaction to this event will affect your future vote. You should mention in your letter if you or your family and friends already have (or plan to) visit NYC and how the removal of this nest might affect your future travel plans and spending patterns. Hit 'em in the pocketbook!

NY State Office, US Fish and Wildlife Service:

Fax: 516.825.3597
Office: 516.825.3950 x234

You may mail your protest letter to:

Lee A. Schneckenberger
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Office of Law Enforcement
70 Sunrise Highway, Suite 419
Valley Stream, NY 11581

NOTE: Unlike songbird nests, raptor nests are active year-round, with the owners continually adding sticks to the existing structure and typically roosting in it at night. Up until several months ago, the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act protected all active nests from harassment and wanton destruction by people, under the threat of prosecution. "Active nests" were recently redefined by USFWS as being nests that contain either eggs or chicks (click here for pdf, added 11 Dec). Despite the fact that this nest did not contain eggs or chicks, Lola and Pale Male were actively adding sticks to the nest and were roosting in it an undetermined number of times. So the "common man" interpretation of "active nest" would reasonably conclude that this nest was indeed, active, even though USFWS does not agree. It is my opinion that removal of this nest is a cruel and unethical act and it should be restored without delay to avoid loss of the 2005 breeding season.

You can send your letter to the NY Times editorial staff. Because the NY Times does not publish open letters or third-party letters, if you want your protest letter to be considered for publication, rewrite it a little bit (20% different is sufficient) and remember to keep it short (250-300 words);

or FAX 212.556.3622

You may mail your protest letter to:

Letters to the Editor
The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036

Because Paula Zahn, CNN newscaster and wife of the building co-op President, Richard D. Cohen, works at CNN news, you should also call CNN to express your outrage (thank you, GW for this information!);

The Paula Zahn Show: 212.275.XXXX
Web-based email to the Paula Zahn Show
CNN: 212.275.XXXX

UPDATED! (9 December 1238 pm EST, again at 405 pm EST)
Real Estate Firm that manages Pale Male and Lola's building

As Rick points out in the comments section below, Joel Burris [office: 212.508.XXXX] at Brown Harris Stevens Management Company probably still redirects all phone calls to an answering machine, so if you are sent to voicemail hell, be sure to CALL THEIR ATTORNEYS (expensive for Mr. Burris and Mr. Vance) at 212.521.XXXX and be sure they know you are complaining about their client's actions against Pale Male and Lola so they bill their time appropriately. Remember: clearly state your complaint and be polite (their attorney$ are our unwitting allie$ in thi$ $ituation).


You can also mail your letter to:

Les Vance
Brown Harris Stevens
770 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10021

Joel Burris, Residential Manager
Brown Harris Stevens
770 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10021

COMMENT: I think Mr. Burris and Mr. Vance should have saved themselves a lot of grief by resigning this account to avoid public outrage in response to their involvement in this unethical and cruel act.

Add your name to the NY Audubon Society Protest Letter and also read a sampling of media coverage of the nest removal.

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg:

web-based email
FAX: 212.788.2460
Office: 212.788.8123
(NYC residents can also call 311)

You may mail your protest letter to:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

NY State Governor George Pataki

web-based email
Office: 518.474.8390

You may mail your protest letter to:

Governor George E. Pataki
State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224

NY State Senator Hillary Clinton

web-based email
Office: 202.224.4451

You may mail your protest letter to:

NY State Senator Hillary Clinton
476 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

NY State Senator Charles Schumer

web-based email
Office: 202.224.6542

You may mail your protest letter to:

NY State Senator Charles Schumer
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

Congressperson Liz Kreuger (26th District)

Office: 518.455.2297

You may mail your protest letter to:

Liz Kreuger (26th District)
302 Legislative Office Building
Albany, New York 12247

Assemblymember Jonathan L. Bing (73rd Assembly District)

email: bingj@
Office: 212.605.0937

You may mail your protest letter to:

Jonathan L. Bing (73rd Assembly District)
360 E. 57th Street
Mezzanine Level
New York, NY 10022

NOTE: If you are located in NYC, you can call 311 to voice your outrage.

Pale Male coming in for a landing on his (now destroyed) nest on 927 Fifth Avenue Avenue.**


* Image [top] by Lincoln Karim/ is linked from NYCJP for illustrative purposes only, with no intention to profit in any way whatsoever.

** Image [above] is linked from A Joisey Girl That Loves New York for illustrative purposes only, with no intention to profit in any way whatsoever.

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© 2004, 2005, 2006 by GrrlScientist

5 Peer Reviews:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go girl.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best way to get the nest rebuilt is to make it the building's owner's cheapest path out of this mess.

In that regard, if you call the number below for the building management: 212.508.7200 you will be sent to a recording. That recording has another number on it (212-521-5400) that goes to a law firm. Law firms cost money. Call them. They are certainly charging their client $300+/hr to listen to you talk. Call them a lot, make sure they know it's about Pale Male so they can bill appropriately for their time.

For a lot less money than this they could put the spikes back up ... or put a paltform for another nest on the roof, on a pole, across the street, or anywhere else -- any option costs less than having people talk to their attorneys all day.


3:49 PM  
Blogger bwren said...

NPR just picked this up. Better late than never.... Will keep writing and phoning.

There's a part of me that finds comfort in a fantasy of perfect retribution - something between the Birds and that film about rats. All of the birds in the city congregating at the windows of those who were behind this, chattering and hooting and shrieking, all day and all night; all of the rats that won't be dinner for Pale Male and Lola and their incipient offspring making their way up to those oh so perfect apartments.....

9:20 PM  
Anonymous Michael Brion said...

Basonas was not the contractor hired by the building do remove the nest. This can be confirmed by contacting the managing company. Inquiries are welcomed to Michael Brion
Michael Brion VP.

9:06 PM  
Blogger GrrlScientist said...

Thanks for the information, Michael.

8:54 AM  

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