Marie Winn is our guide into a secret world, a true wilderness in the heart of a city. The scene is New York's Central Park, but the rich natural history that emerges here--the loons, raccoons, woodpeckers, owls, and hundreds of visiting songbirds--will appeal to wildlife lovers everywhere. At its heart is the saga of the Fifth Avenue hawks, which begins as a love story and develops into a full-fledged mystery.
At the outset of our journey we meet the Regulars, a small band of nature lovers who devote themselves to the park and its wildlife. As they watch Pale Male, a remarkable young red-tailed hawk, woo and win his first mate, they are soon transformed into addicted hawk-watchers. From a bench at the park's model-boat pond they observe the hawks building a nest in an astonishing spot--a high ledge of a Fifth Avenue building three floors above Mary Tyler Moore's apartment and across the street from Woody Allen's.
The drama of the Fifth Avenue hawks--hunting, courting, mating, and striving against great odds to raise a family in their unprecedented nest site--is alternately hilarious and heartbreaking. Red-Tails in Love will delight and inspire readers for years to come.
New York's Central Park, although located in the heart of Gotham, is one of the prime birding areas in the country, with about 190 species observed by a dedicated band of nature lovers whom Winn knows as the "Regulars," being one herself. A nature columnist for the Wall Street Journal and the author of The Plug-In Drug and other books, Winn tells a captivating story here of hawks, humans and other denizens of the park over a five-year period. In the spring of 1992, a pair of red-tailed hawks built a nest on a high ledge of a building on Fifth Avenue (Woody Allen's penthouse was across the street). Great excitement and anticipation ensued among Winn's adoptive clan. When, in the third year, the first fledglings appeared, the Regulars maintained a dawn-to-dusk watch on the nest. They observed the hawks mating, hunting, eating (pigeons and rats were plentiful) and bringing food to their young. These activities attracted a lot of attention from people passing through the park--children, tourists, workmen, city officials--many of whom prove interesting here as sideshows to the main event of the birds. Winn brings a wonderfully clear eye to all her observations, avian and otherwise. Birders will be enchanted, as will thoughtful students of human nature.