It hasn’t been a good late winter for New York’s red-tailed hawk population. The first big news came when the first lady of New York’s hawks — Pale Male’s latest love interest — was found dead. Shortly thereafter, the body of another unidentified red-tailed hawk was found in Central Park. There was also a young hawk found dead in the park, which was mostly ignored outside of hawk-watching circles. But now, yet another bird, this one a Riverside Park resident, has bitten the dust, bringing the recent death toll up to four.
This bird, though unnamed, was a local hero of sorts: After her mate died, she raised her hatchlings solo, then took up with a much younger bird, with whom she was nesting. It was only a matter of time before ABC optioned her life for a heartwarming sitcom. But now, no such luck. Perhaps some crime procedural show will take on the case of the dying hawks, though: It’s just speculation, but some hawk-watchers think it likely that the Riverside Park hawk (like her mate, and Pale Male’s) ingested rat poison. Upper West Side residents have complained about a rodent problem in the park lately, and so the hawk could have simply been an unfortunate civilian casualty. (The Parks Department cut down on rat poison originally after it caused hawk deaths in the park, creating the current problem.)
Or, as we prefer to wildly and groundlessly speculate, perhaps there’s a crazed hawk serial killer out there.