Hawks the size of, I don’t know, dinosaur hawks?

The point is, they were really freaking big. These hawks were sitting on a building on the south side of Washington Square Park. I’m not sure if zooming in conveys their size, and I don’t own the right camera or lens to have gotten a decent shot. So there’s a pulled-back view below, which might give a better sense of how big they were.

Hawks eat whole flocks of pigeons, I read. That’s upsetting. I know they need to live too, but still. My poor pigeons.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

6 thoughts on “Hawks the size of, I don’t know, dinosaur hawks?

  1. They’re red tailed hawks, like Pale Male, the celebrity hawk of the upper east side of Manhattan. I have a similar one in Bronx Park, across the street from me. The other day I was walking to the subway, and saw a squirrel cowering in an air conditioner cage, in a window of an nearby apartment building. I looked up, and there was the hawk, hovering over the spot, waiting for his prey to leave his haven of safety. The squirrel was smart enough to stay there till it was safe.
    Nature in the raw is seldom mild.

  2. I think someone said Nature was red of tooth and claw (I haven’t had time to look up the actual quote).

    Our big thing right now in the Greensboro city limits seems to be either black vultures or coyotes. Nearly ran over a coyote one evening as he ran out in front of my car.

    The hawks I’ve seen here in NC all seem to be red-shouldered hawks; not a single red-tailed one in the bunch.

  3. I was at an Audubon Bird Sanctuary in Upstate Ny recently, with a lot of rescued birds in cages. Turns out the black vultures are smart adorable friendly likable birds. But ravens are the ultimate.

  4. Hi Stacy,
    it’s funny. Some time ago I was watching a TV special about hawks that live in New York City.

    They said that the skyscrapers were a lot like the cliffs in Arizona and New Mexico to the hawks.

    So then one guy mentioned that one of the hawks had two families. He would be with the family on one skyscraper for a while then fly to another a few blocks away to be with his other family.

    Someone said, “But I thought hawks mated for life.”

    To which the first guy replied, “Hey, this is New York City!”

    Karen, the quote is from Tennyson. He was contrasting Wordsworth’s pastoral landscapes.

    The food chain is really tough to reconcile. It was one of the hardest factors about reality for Joseph Campbell to get his mind around. The early Gnostic Christians were so appalled by the food chain being the basis for physical life that they decided our level of reality was created by a horrible, demonic god. And that the true lord of light existed on the plane above this entity.

    I still wrestle with the realities of the food chain myself.

  5. Stacy, in case you’re thinking of getting a black vulture as a pet, one of their habits is to pee on their legs. They do it to cool off and also since they are carrion eaters, to destroy any bacteria they may have stepped on.

    And you think you have litter box problems with the cats . . .

  6. I’m thinking of writing a book about birds, and volunteering for a place in the city called the Wild Bird Fun.

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