Red-Tailed Hawk – Bobby or Rosie? – Watches Over Saturday Goings-On at Washington Square From Atop Park Light

Hawk Atop Light Watches Over Everything
Bobby or Rosie…?

Seems fitting for a Red-tailed hawk to surface on the Fountain Plaza as the Pagan Pride Celebration Goes On Around Him (or Her?).

I didn’t cover the red-tailed hawks at the park too much this year and not as much in general since Mama Hawk Violet died. There were three juveniles this year, children of Bobby and Rosie, but there was so much else going on that I just didn’t follow it. I hope they fared well. I’ll try to do a little searching – it won’t be hard to find out. There are a lot of great NYC urban hawk sites.

Photos: Jerry Levy

Spread the love

10 thoughts on “Red-Tailed Hawk – Bobby or Rosie? – Watches Over Saturday Goings-On at Washington Square From Atop Park Light”

  1. I have read that there is now rat poison in WSP, so say goodbye to Bobby and Rosie. Better yet, scream bloody murder at those responsible and tell them to use snap traps instead.

  2. I agree Ann. It will be a shame to lose this beautiful friendly Red-Tailed Hawk because of Rat Poison. According to Roger Paw’s Blog there are at least 7 Poison Bait Traps in the Park area right now. Rosie is such a beautiful and people Tolerant Red Tailed Hawk.

  3. How to solve the rat problem? If the humans do their part and clean up after themselves, if the city parks’ department does its part and provide closed metal garbage cans which are frequently emptied, if park goers do their part by refraining from feeding squirrels and pigeons, then the food source to the rats is cut off. Rats are delicious to our red-tailed hawks (and other raptors). Let the hawks do the work!

  4. Hi Ann, Mary, Erica,

    Thanks for your comments! I was surprised too… once I did a little sleuthing about the hawks as I mentioned above … to read of the return of the rat poison at Washington Square Park.

    But instead of turning on the squirrel and pigeon fans which I noticed was done at some of the hawk blogs, I think we need to have a more ‘wholistic’ view. The people who appreciate and look out for squirrels and pigeons NEVER said ‘hey,let’s try to get rid of the hawks’ despite the fact that the hawks kill the pigeons & squirrels.

    As far as limiting the # of rats in parks, I’ve covered this before here: In fact, Robert Sullivan who wrote the book, RATS, is very clear in that the only reason there are more rats is that people do not curtail access to food via garbage. The garbage cans could use some improvement at WSP.

    So I agree with Erica with points #1 and #2, however, the people who are feeding the pigeons and squirrels – and to note, those species ARE somewhat dependent on us (meaning people) at this point – are not the problem. The pigeons and squirrels are out during the day; rats are mostly nocturnal. There is not typically leftover food from what is provided for the pigeons & squirrels.

    I was somewhat shocked that at the Roger_Paw blog that she is pointing to water for squirrels as luring in the rats. G*d forbid, we provide water for rats! I mean… please. Water is in the fountain, water gets left over after it rains and, in other spaces, such as the sidewalks that are cracked.

    People who are fans of pigeons and squirrels NEVER went after the hawks but somehow many of the hawk people seem to think HAWKS are the only species that matter. As a wildlife ‘fan,’ I am interested in protecting ALL wildlife, not just certain kinds. I don’t feel entitled which sometimes is how ‘hawk’ people come across unless I am misinterpreting.

    I’m going to devote a separate blog post to this but I’ve seen commentary on two hawk blogs where they are going after pigeon and squirrel feeders. Pigeons are reliant on people at this point — they were introduced to the United States by people and at one point during World Wars were considered heroes for delivering messages overseas. I like them.

    I appreciate pigeons and squirrels and I LOVE that at Washington Square Park there is a tolerance and appreciation for both.

    I have little tolerance for the anti-pigeon and squirrel sentiment and I also think if someone appreciates wildlife – that should pertain to ALL wildlife and not be selective and species-ist.

    I agree that rat poison is problematic for many many reasons and is not the answer. That I think we are all united on – I just don’t think it’s fair what some of the hawk people are doing to protect the hawks, in a sense, throwing the other species – and their ‘fans’ – under the bus.

    Thanks for commenting!


  5. In response, Catherine, I must say that I love wildlife also, not just the hawks. I enjoy seeing the pigeons and squirrels in the park. I actually enjoy watching the people feeding them. My understanding is that some of the feed for the birds and squirrels is left over, and that attracts rats in addition to the garbage. Perhaps a good solution would be for the humans to sweep up whatever leftover feed falls to the ground before they leave the park with a little dust pan. Just a thought!

  6. Hi Erica,

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. If that is the case, yes, I could certainly look at that as a solution and a ‘work around’ to just banning feeding all together. I haven’t seen any leftover bird seed (which is the main component) or nuts ever… I don’t think rats are attracted to the shells of say peanuts or walnuts or whatever but that I don’t know for sure. So, yes, I think that would be a happy solution if that is the case.

    And thanks for your overall appreciation of wildlife!


    • Hello Erica and Cathryn. I think you are correct Cathryn, lets not throw the Pigeon and Squirrel feeders under the bus. I’m certain the pigeons and the local European House sparrows clean up all the left over seed. I doubt a few buried peanuts here and there is the source of the rodent food. I have eaten in Washington Square Park and found left over fruit and brownies left on the benches by others who ate their lunch and did not take their food with them. Roger pointed out uncovered garbage cans as well. I think your previous blog deserves attention and re-posting. Taking your garbage with you. Keeping garbage cans covered using solar compactors is the way to go. Keep up the great coverage of Washington Square Park Cathryn. I sincerely hope these beautiful hawks which add so much beauty and enjoyment to WSP survive this renewed assault. Yours, Mary

  7. Hi Mary,

    Good points! Thanks!! Glad we’re all on the same ‘page.’

    I will repost that information definitely. I don’t know about garbage cans with solar compactors – will look into that.

    Thanks for your nice comments about blog coverage of WSP!


  8. Let me start off by saying “sorry”.. got to this post “late”.. I am one of the “pigeon people”. I have 7 pet pigeons that fly out to the park every day from my place on Grove Street to “play” with their friends. As far as the pigeon and squirrel food attracting the rats, it really doesn’t. While rats are known to pretty much eat anything, with a small exception the food given to the squirrels and pigeons (and sparrows, starlings, etc..) is either eaten immediately, or buried. I say small exception as there are people who do come into the park with old bread and other food, who simply drop it and leave..
    Having watched the wildlife in the park for the last 7 years, I can say the biggest issue with the increase in the rat population is the construction of the new bathroom and large dog park, and the simple fact that so many people throw out so much food in the park. What we need is more garbage cans, and ones that actually have some sort of cover. It won’t get rid of the rats, but why make it easy for them to eat?

  9. Hi William,

    Thanks for commenting and adding to the discussion. I definitely agree with you. Love the story of your “pet” pigeons. The garbage is the big issue – I agree that the pigeons and squirrels, etc. eat up what is there. Sometimes people (the hawk people) while trying to get rid of the rodenticide, then what to point to the feeding of pigeons, etc. More garbage cans seem like a ‘simple’ enough solution – at least part of it. And good point about the construction which always adds to an increase in rat population. I don’t like to ‘demonize’ any species, even the ones I don’t necessarily want sitting next to me!

    Thanks for your comment !



Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: