By Olivia Scheck
MANHATTAN — Birdlovers from Manhattan and beyond are holding out hope for Lola, the legendary red-tailed hawk who was presumed dead after disappearing from her perch near Central Park last month.
Nearly a dozen readers have reached out to DNAinfo since we published a story about Lola's apparent demise on Tuesday, claiming to have spotted the beloved hawk in the Bronx, New Jersey, and even Atlanta, Georgia.
Lola had been the long-time companion of Pale Male, a male red-tailed hawk who has watched over the park since 1991 and was even the subject of a PBS documentary. For nine years the two shared a nest atop a Fifth Avenue Co-Op, but Lola has not been spotted since Dec. 18, 2010.
While Pale Male appears to have rebounded quickly — reportedly taking up residence with a new female — many members of the DNAinfo community have yet to adjust to the transition.
"The Hawk is definitely still alive, and I just spotted it this morning in my neighbor's tree in Oakland, NJ," reader Shana Gordon insisted via e-mail Wednesday morning. "Just wanted to let you know it has ventured to Oakland, NJ in Bergen county, but is very much still alive!"
Another reader from New Jersey wrote to report a possible spotting in Bayonne.
"I have been seeing a hawk in Bayonne, NJ for the last month," the reader, Gene Woods, said via e-mail. "I have never seen such a bird in Bayonne and now this may make sense... It is a beautiful bird and I hope that it may be the one."
An especially promising sighting was reported to DNAinfo on Wednesday afternoon by Kips Bay resident Karen Fierman.
Fierman, 35, said she was enjoying a snow day with her nieces at her sister's apartment on 87th Street and Park Avenue, when a red-tailed hawk perched itself on the windowsill. That was on Jan. 7, 2010.
"We were sitting at the counter eating pizza and all of a sudden we looked out the window and we saw this bird," she said over the phone on Wednesday. "It was like the coolest thing I've ever seen."
Fierman, who works in real estate, managed to snap a photo of the hawk on her cell phone. But it wasn't until her husband sent her the DNAinfo article about Lola's disappearance that Firerman made the connection.
While birding expert, Robert DeCandido, confirmed that the bird in the photo was, in fact, a red-tailed hawk, he said he did not believe it was Lola.
"It looks like a juvenile if anything because of the yellow eyes…so that would rule Lola out right there," DeCandido explained, though he said he would need to see the bird's tail to be sure.
"I get a lot of emails from people who've spotted red tailed hawks on their balconies," the biologist, who leads bird-walks through Central Park added.
Fierman was disappointed but not distraught to hear the expert's proclamation.
"It's ok — I'm not upset," she said upon hearing the news. "I just hoped it would be her."