I think it was about two years ago when I first saw a hawk in Manhattan. It was in Washington Square park, the one where I Am Legend was filmed. There are NYU buildings surrounding the park and two hawks had turned a window sill on one of those buildings into a nest. The NYU administration did a good thing by leaving the nest in place and then went one step further by sharing the hatching and growing-up process with the world via a web cam live feed.
Life is busy and I didn’t keep up with the hawks and I’d all but forgotten about them until last week. I was walking through Tompkins Square park, which is a few blocks away from Washington Square, when I saw a hawk land on a railing nearby. After a few minutes I realized there were two hawks in the park. They were hanging out together, generally. We watched one try to catch a squirrel, but the squirrel fought back and the hawk dropped him. I was amused to see the squirrel proudly stand on the end of a branch, as if he was daring the hawk to come back and try again.
It’s really neat to see wildlife in the city. Anything to get a little green in the middle of all this concrete. Hopefully the birds don’t start taking and eating rich people’s small dogs, though.
The last place I expected to see a hawk for the first time was at Washington Square Park, in the middle of New York City, but that’s what happened. My wife and I were passing through and saw a crowd of people gathered with their phones and/or cameras out.
Part of Washington Square Park is fenced off because it’s still being renovated. Because of that, it’s free of people, which is probably why the hawk chose that area to hang out in, though it might also have had something to do with the squirrel that was on a nearby tree.
I asked a guy near us if the hawk showed up in the park often and he said that it, along with three siblings, lived in the area and had grown up in a nest on a window ledge on a nearby NYU building. He said that when the hawks were young, there was a 24/7 webcam set up above the nest. He took a moment to show me a video he had on his phone that he’d saved. I guess people were allowed to go into the building and look at the hawks from inside.
It’s nice to see that people are supportive of wildlife returning to the area. There are places in the world where birds like this would have been poached, or hunted just for kicks. Some people are sick. I hope these hawks stay cool and don’t make a nuisance of themselves, or you know someone will cry about it right away and want them removed.
For more info about the hawks, you can visit their ‘homepage’: WP Hawks.