Birds of Central Park

Saturday, June 02, 2012

New York Times
June 1, 2012, 1:57 pm

A Wildlife Rescue Center for New York City


Since 2001, over 7,000 feathered and furry vagrants have passed through a cramped apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, with screaming babies stacked above solemn old-timers and sprightly young fellows whistling aside the gravely ill. But as my colleagues Kelly Slivka and Kate Yandell report in this video, this eclectic menagerie, known as the Wild Bird Fund, has now secured a 1,300-square-foot independent space that opens on Saturday on Columbus Avenue.

“We’re trying to help make a difference, to at least have some place that kind-hearted New Yorkers can come to bring those animals when they are in distress — and they are very much in distress,” said Rita McMahon, the founder of the Wild Bird Fund and the owner of the apartment that housed ailing animals.

Until now, Ms. McMahon explained, New York City was the only major metropolis in the country without a wildlife rehabilitation center — but not for lack of need. Over 350 species of birds are native to the city or pass through it while migrating. But the urban jungle presents a host of obstacles and dangers, including tall glass buildings, cars, pollution and people. The vast majority of animals that Ms. McMahon sees are hurt or have fallen ill as a result of human activity, like getting run over by a bicycle or being exposed to lead-based paint on buildings. Life’s not easy for a little bird in the big city.

Since the Wild Bird Fund was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2005 and began publicizing its services online, more injured animals have passed through Ms. McMahon’s apartment each season. In 2005, she saw about 200 patients; this year she expects to handle more than 1,500. “Around 2009, we realized it was getting out of control — there were so many cages and cat carriers in my apartment,” she said, explaining her decision to open an official location.

Read the entire article on the New York Times Web Site.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lincoln vs. the DEC

Well, another tempest in a teapot thanks to the DEC and Lincoln Karim. They have provided us with a lot of entertainment over the years, and fodder for our blogs. What do you think?

February 28, 2012, 11:46 am

Hawk Chronicler Arrested Over Possession of Dead Bird

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Updated, 3:10 p.m. | A longtime birdwatcher who carried a dead red-tailed hawk out of Central Park on Sunday, kept it in his apartment overnight and then carried it back to the park was arrested on Monday and charged with illegal possession of a raptor without a permit.

The birdwatcher, Lincoln Karim, was also charged with obstruction of government administration, according to Rodney Rivera, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Another birdwatcher who was with him was also charged with illegal possession of a raptor, Mr. Rivera said.

The dead hawk was the recent regular female companion of Pale Male, the celebrity hawk whose haunts include a Fifth Avenue co-op that once tried to evict him. Mr. Karim said a couple walking in the park had found the dead hawk, known as Lima, on Sunday afternoon. The couple found Mr. Karim when they went looking for help — the man, Gabriele De Gaudenzi, said he had already called 311 and had been told to take the dead bird to a “dropoff center,” but he did not want to handle a carcass. He said he had also called the Central Park Conservancy, but no one had called back, so he went to the Conservatory Water because he knew hawk-watchers often gathered there. Mr. De Gaudenzi said that someone directed him to Mr. Karim and he explained the situation. He said that Mr. Karim made some calls on his cellphone.

“After half an hour,he came back saying he had permission to take it for one day,” Mr. De Gaudenzi said. (Mr. Rivera disputed that point.)

So as darkness closed in, Mr. Karim took the dead bird home for safekeeping. He said he placed it in his refrigerator and made arrangements to take it to a laboratory in Albany for a necropsy and toxicology tests.

He then posted word of Lima’s death on the Web site Palemale.com, and on Monday, he heard from the environmental conservation officer who eventually took him into custody.
The arrest “happened because he was in contact with us for pretty much the whole day” on Monday, Mr. Rivera said, and had given the environmental conservation officer “somewhat of a runaround, saying he’d meet at one place and then going there and not having the bird on him and getting the bird. After putting in so many man-hours chasing the man down, they felt at that point they had to charge him.”

“This could have all been totally avoided if he had gave us the bird at the time he initially called us,” Mr. Rivera said, “and we would have sent it up to our pathology unit in Albany. Unfortunately, he made it harder on us, and himself.”

Mr. Karim was held overnight and released on Tuesday morning.

Mr. Karim had said on Monday afternoon — after he and the officer had been in touch by cellphone, and before his arrest — that he doubted that the bird’s body would be taken to the lab if he turned it over to the officer.

He said later that when he went home on Monday night, he found the officer parked in front of his apartment building. He said he went to the Midtown North police precinct station house nearby, seeking guidance. He said he also called the Central Park police.

He said he went back to his street and called the officer again from down the block, telling him he had taken the bird to a bird handler’s apartment on the Upper West Side. That was not true — Mr. Karim said he had been planning to take the bird there so the bird handler could turn it over to the authorities, but at the moment he made the call, he was still standing in the shadows on his own street.

He said he just wanted to say something to get the officer away from his building so he could go inside and decide what to do. Mr. Karim said he was suspicious that the officer was intent on arresting him. “I said, ‘I just want to get this hawk to you, but you’re trying to do something bad to me, and I haven’t done anything wrong.’” Mr. Karim said. He said the officer accused him of deception.

Mr. Karim said he decided to take the bird to Central Park, instead of the handler’s apartment. He said that he and the woman who was arrested with him, identified by Mr. Rivera as Stella Hamilton, left it under a lamp post, and that he called the officer and told him that. He said the officer told him he was going home and would pick up the hawk in the morning — if it was still there.

Mr. Karim and the woman waited for a while to see whether the officer would come and pick up the bird. “I said, ‘I can’t leave Pale Male’s mate on the ground like that,’” Mr. Karim said. So he asked the woman to pick up the bird, and the officer ran out of the bushes “with his hand on his gun,” Mr. Karim said.

Mr. Karim was also arrested in 2004 on charges that included aggravated harassment at a protest across the street from 927 Fifth Avenue, the co-op that had removed Pale Male’s longtime perch. Mr. Karim was accused of repeatedly approaching the broadcaster Paula Zahn and her family, who lived in the building. Law enforcement officials said at the time that when her son, then 7, went out with his nanny to walk his dog, Mr. Karim told him, “Your parents are going to pay for this.”

Mr. Karim said on Tuesday that the charges against him in the 2004 arrest were dismissed.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ashamed to be an American

With the budget crisis looming, House Republicans have taken the opportunity to load their budget bill with amendments that would gut environmental protection.  Not only are these clowns in Congress ruining the economy, they are hell bent on taking the environment down with it.

How cynical can you get? It makes me ashamed to be an American.


July 27, 2011
New York Times

Republicans Seek Big Cuts in Environmental Rules

With the nation’s attention diverted by the drama over the debt ceiling, Republicans in the House of Representatives are loading up an appropriations bill with 39 ways — and counting — to significantly curtail environmental regulation.

One would prevent the Bureau of Land Management from designating new wilderness areas for preservation. Another would severely restrict the Department of Interior’s ability to police mountaintop-removal mining. And then there is the call to allow new uranium prospecting near Grand Canyon National Park.

There is little chance that all the 39 proposals identified by Democrats will be approved by the Senate, which they control, or that a substantial number could elude a presidential veto. In fact, one measure — to forbid the Fish and Wildlife Service to list any new plants or animals as endangered — was so extreme that 37 Republicans broke ranks Wednesday and voted to strip it from the bill.

The whole article