Photo: Bahram Foroughi
Over the past few years, some new, wild tenants have begun moving into the East Village. Area residents have taken to their Flickr and Instagram accounts to document the nabe’s red-tailed hawk population, which seems to be on the rise thanks to an abundant food supply of rodents and pigeons as well as the birds’ increased comfort with the urban lifestyle. Wildlife rehabilitators and avian aficionados alike have spotted increasing numbers of the raptors, and expect more to travel to the area in search of a meal, a mate or a nesting spot.
Photo: Amy Zimmer for DNAInfo
Experts believe that the combination of green spaces such as Tompkins Square Park and an abundance of prey have attracted the birds to the East Village in recent years. Bobby Horvath, a Long Island-based wildlife rehabilitator told DNAinfo New York in 2011 that the sheer number of calls he has received to rescue trapped or injured birds is indicative of their population growth in the East Village. Last month, Horvath removed red-tailed hawks from an air shaft on the Upper East Side and from inside the New York Times building.
Some of the hawks’ favorite haunts include Stuyvesant Square Park, and Horvath believes that they are now more likely to be spotted in the East Village than Long Island. Since first-year birds must hunt on their own once they leave the nest, the East Village may be their best choice of real estate in the city. But like any newcomer to a neighborhood, the birds face a number of challenges. They are susceptible to pigeon and rat bacteria as well as the poisons used to kill them, and at times, build nests on ledges that do not have proper anchors.
Still, as the season progresses, human inhabitants of the East Village can expect to see the magnificent animals anywhere from Washington Square Park to the Marble Cemetery and Seward Park. It is hoped that the birds will work to control pest problems while at the same time gracing the sky with their beauty.