A few weeks ago, we brought you sad news that two of Pale Male’s bird babies had taken ill after eating rat poison and now the story has taken an even more upsetting turn. After becoming sick, the offspring of Central Park’s beloved red-tailed hawk were removed from their nests by animal rescue volunteer Cathy Horvath. Even though Horvath was able to nurse the babies back to health, the area around the nest has been deemed unsafe for them since it is still riddled with rat poison that could cause them harm if they are returned.

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©Marie Winn

As Horvath had feared, Central Park’s usage of rodenticide was not just a one time incident, but a continuous effort to reduce the amount of rats that populate the park.  The poison thrives at the Central Park Boathouse and near the American Museum of Natural History, two areas where local red-tailed hawks often hunt for their prey. When a poisoned rodent is ingested by one of the birds, the poison is then transferred into the hawks’ bloodstreams, making them very sick.

Pale Male and his babies are at risk, as they feed on the infected rodents. Consuming this poison could render one of the developing baby hawks sick, or worse – dead. Until the poison is removed, Horvath doesn’t feel it is safe to return the baby birds to their home.

Although the Parks Department has claimed to stop usage of rodenticide after red-tailed hawks were killed by it in the past, a report by DNA Info found the poison on the site of the Museum of Natural History and the Central Park Boathouse, which are both under the Parks Department jurisdiction. The museum has since apparently switched to Protecta LP traps, but Horvath is still nervous to release the ailing baby birds into the affected areas. Horvath hopes to rally community support and assemble a protest to help protect the city’s rare birds.

Via DNA Info

Images ©Pale Male and ©Marie Winn