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With Hawks Grown, Rat Poison is Back in Tompkins

Tompkins Square Juvenile Red-Tailed HawkRobert Schmunk The Parks Department has begun placing rat poison in Tompkins Square Park, a measure it previously declined to use because of the presence of red- tailed hawks.

The city has unleashed a new weapon in the fight against the rodent menace in Tompkins Square Park.

After destroying rodent hideouts and deploying mint-scented trash bags, new garbage cans, and “Feed a pigeon, breed a rat” signage, this week the Parks Department began baiting the park with poison.

Previously, the Parks Department had said it did not use rat poison due to the danger it posed to the red-tailed hawks that dine on the critters. But now, new Parks Department policy allows the agency to use poison when hawks are not in the fledgling season, which is roughly from February to August. Read more…

The Latest on Violet the Hawk

Violet Feeding Her Hatchling_1Violet the red-tailed hawk feeding her hatchling this morning. Click the image above to view live pictures from the Hawk Cam.

On Thursday, we told you about a plan by animal rescue workers to capture and treat Violet, the red-tailed hawk nesting high above Washington Square Park, whose leg is badly swollen by a metal wildlife band. After several hours of deliberations, workers decided against a rescue attempt — Violet is doing well enough, they said, and the risks of intervening, for both Violet and her recently hatched baby hawk, were too great. Visit The City Room blog of The Times for more updates.—The Local

As Birds Return, Collisions A Concern

Claw foot Red-Tailed Hawk hawk in Tompkins Square ParkCarol Vinzant/ With an uptick in sightings of red-tailed hawks in the East Village, conservationists are concerned about the dangers posed by manmade perils such as birds colliding with buildings. Below: The bodies of dead pigeons in Tompkins Square Park.
Disturbing pigeon casualties in TompkinsHadas Goshen

Those of us at The Local would like to believe we offer a rather respectable bird’s eye view of the East Village but stand humbled below the neighborhood’s newest migrants: the red-tailed hawks.

Much has been said about the hawks’ return to Tompkins Square Park and the recent rescue of a red-tail from an airshaft on East Third Street last month, but despite the hawk-friendly hubbub, environmentalists are still concerned that some East Village buildings may pose a threat to the birds.

According to Glenn Phillips, executive director of New York City Audubon Society, a juvenile red-tail hawk died several weeks ago after crashing into a window on East Fourth Street; and while such collisions are less publicized than bird rescues, they occur frequently in the East Village and the East Coast migratory route on which it lies.

So frequently, in fact, that research by Audubon has shown that 90,000 migrating birds die after hitting New York City buildings each year.

Experts say manmade factors like poor architectural designs, which often rely on the aesthetics of large glass windows and bright lights, can easily disrupt a bird’s innate navigation process and lead to higher numbers of bird casualties, especially in populated areas like the East Village.
Read more…