Saturday, April 09, 2011

Pale Male and his Partners

Pale Male, the renowned Red-tailed Hawk in Manhattan, has had trouble finding a new breeding partner since the disappearance of his last mate, Lola. The trouble is not a dearth of potential mates. Rather, his mates have been disappearing too quickly to nest and lay eggs.

So what has life after Lola been like? Pale Male was not down in the dumps for long, unless he swooped by a landfill for dinner, but this is about his hunger for the opposite sex. “As ever, because Pale Male is a real stud, a new female showed up almost instantly,” Ms. Winn said.

That was the one the Pale Male-watchers called Ginger.

But just when things seemed as steamy as that sex club on “Law & Order: S.V.U.” the other night, Ginger became an ex, or so the birders speculate — suddenly she was nowhere to be seen, and there was someone new: Pale Beauty. (Some birders called her Paula.)

Then she, too, was gone, replaced by “the one there now,” as Ms. Winn described the female that has been keeping company with Pale Male. Some birders call her Lima, but others wonder if she isn’t really Ginger. Pale Male’s girlfriends are not banded, Ms. Winn said, so there is no way to double-check their identities.
Prior to Lola's disappearance, the pair had not nested successfully for several years. Whether due to nest structure, infertility, weather, or other factors, the pair would produce eggs, but the eggs would never hatch. It will be interesting to see if Pale Male fares any better with a new partner.