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Pale Male's 'Fierce' Baby Hawk Recovering After Crash, Rescuers Say

By Emily Frost | August 19, 2013 6:44am
 The babies are now several months old and are flying freely and feeding themselves, except for one that was injured last week, hawk watchers say. 
Pale Male's Baby Hawks
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CENTRAL PARK — One of the fledglings of famed Central Park hawk Pale Male has had a rough start during his first flights outside the nest — suffering a concussion after flying into a glass door on the Upper East Side, according to rescuers. 

The fledgling male hawk that's only a few months old is recuperating at a Long Island facility after flying into a glass door atop a building on Madison Avenue at East 89th Street, according to facility operator Cathy Horvath, of Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation (WINORR).

Hawk-watcher and blogger Jean Shum said the red-tailed hawk hit "a glass door on a rooftop pool," and was picked up by the city Animal Care and Control unit before being transferred to WINORR. Shum reported that until his injury last week, the baby hawk and Pale Male's other offspring "have been actively hunting and feeding themselves."  

Three of Pale Male's New Babies Sitting in a Tree
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Horvath said young male hawks generally tend to be more laid back, but she is finding that this fledgling is no easy patient.

"He’s pretty fierce actually...He’s kind of fresh. He’s pretty spunky," Horvath said of the hawk, which she has been feeding rats and mice by hand, medicating and observing closely after he suffered "head trauma." 

His attitude isn't making the task of nursing him back to health any easier, given the stress of taking care of a bird with such a famous father, she said.

"When we got him we thought, 'We have Pale Male’s baby!'" Horvath said. "There's lots of pressure."

She expects she'll be able to release him back to his nest in Central Park, at Fifth Avenue and East 74th Street, "in another week or so." 

Hawk observers broke out the proverbial cigars in late April when Pale Male and his latest mate, Octavia, had three offspring — and many are eager to see the injured young male back in action.

Horvath's volunteer organization, run entirely on donations, frequently gets calls about sick animals, particularly birds. This summer, nearly a dozen birds from New York City and Long Island came in in a short period of time suffering from West Nile Virus, she explained.  

In only a couple of instances this summer, urban hawks have ingested rat poison, fallen ill and have had to be placed in her care, said Horvath. It was a pattern that was happening more frequently last year, she said.

In the past, rat poison has been traced by hawk watchers to the American Museum of Natural History, the Boat Basin and the surrounding neighborhoods the hawks frequent.