The Canadian Peregrine Foundation

February 17, 2005
Heidi Singer -

The city's most famous feathered couple have rebuilt their nest - and are starting a family.

"I'm totally excited this is finally happening," said E.J. McAdams of New York City Audubon. "We'll see little hawklings this spring. Pale Male's life cycle will continue."

Pale Male and Lola put on the first act of their X-rated high-rise show on Saturday, when hawk-eyed New Yorkers spotted the pair of red-tailed hawks in an intimate pose atop a TV antennae at East 79th Street and Fifth Avenue, five blocks north of the co-op where they've been busy renovating their new nest.

And there have been more horny-hawk happenings as the birds show off for each other, flying high and circling with their wings outstretched - typical mating moves.

Pale Male has also been spotted picking off plump rats and pigeons in Central Park - the bird-of-prey equivalent of buying chocolates at Godiva - and bringing the tasty treats to Lola.

"They're like Valentine's Day presents," said McAdams. "It seals the deal."

The birds won't actually sleep or mate in their newly rebuilt nest, but they will deposit their eggs in March, and then raise their youngsters there.

It's a very happy ending to a soap opera that gripped the city in December, when the hawks were briefly kicked out of their decade-old nest at 927 Fifth Ave. by wealthy tenants who were concerned about damage to the building and upset by the birds' table manners - like dropping half-eaten pigeons in front of the building entrance.

But the hawks won a bitter public-relations battle, and the building welcomed them back with new spikes to anchor a new nest and a guardrail to keep their pigeon leftovers from plummeting 12-stories to the sidewalk.

"For all the people who were out there in the cold and who wrote letters and sent e-mails, this is something we all hoped for," said McAdams. "Pale Male and Lola have come through again."

The hawks aren't the only ones allowed back to the Fifth Avenue co-op.

The city's most rabid raptor fan, Lincoln Karim, is free to return to his old perch in front of the building, now that stalking charges against him - and a restraining order - have been dropped.

Karim was arrested after CNN anchor Paula Zahn, a building resident, complained he harassed her young children in December as part of his strident protest against the removal of the nest.

Karim, who was suspended from work at The Associated Press after his arrest, recently got his job back.

Zahn's husband, Richard Cohen - who heads the co-op board and was a driving force behind the original nest removal - did not respond to a request for a comment.

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