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Red-tails in Love


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In 1992, the appearance of two rare red-tailed hawks in Central Park triggered a frenzy among the city's bird-watchers. The couple's perils in trying to mate and raise their young in the middle of Manhattan make for entertaining, instructive reading.

YA-A charming story about a pair of red-tail hawks that set up housekeeping in the middle of New York City. It is also the story of the Regulars, a group of people who observe their activities and note them in the Central Park Bird Register. Winn is a member of this diverse group that was brought together by an interest in observing the many species that migrate through the area. One early spring day, a uniquely colored male red-tail appeared and soon attracted a female. Since hawks do not usually nest in the park, their presence caused great excitement in the bird-watching community. Their first attempt to hatch a family failed but the next spring they built a nest on the 12th-floor facade of a nearby apartment building. The Regulars set up an observation post on a bench and surveyed the hawks' activities. Over the course of the next three years, the group got involved with the apartment residents and superintendents, government experts, museum specialists, and wildlife rehabilitators. This is a true-life adventure quietly acted out but every bit as riveting as a big-action tale. It will be of interest to teens who enjoy nature and wildlife.-Penny Stevens, Centreville Regional Library, Centreville, VA

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. (Mar.)

"Enchanting." --"The New York Review of Books" "An amazing drama, as good as any soap opera and all the more remarkable since it is a true wildlife story." -- "Birding" "A sublime lesson in adaptability, hope, and wild-bred devotion. It'll make you look to the skies, no matter where you live." --Carl Hiaasen, "Mirabella" "Astonishing. . . . If you don't believe that the Central Park of Stuart Little has always existed, read this book and open your eyes." --Mary Tyler Moore "Engaging . . . Dr. Zhivago with feathers. . . . That such simple pleasures can be savored today, in the heart of frantic New York City, is a bit of a miracle." --"The Boston Globe" " 'Give your heart to the hawks, ' the poet Robinson Jeffers wrote. Marie Winn certainly has, and so will readers of this delightful book." --"The New York Times Book Review"

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