NEW YORK – Pale Male the city hawk was evicted from his nest, and the flap has already begun.
So said aggrieved bird-watchers and neighbors after workmen raised a scaffold to the top of a Manhattan apartment building Tuesday and ripped out the famous red-tailed hawk's (search) nest.
The act appeared to end an urban drama that has fascinated bird-watchers over the past nine years, as Pale Male (search) and a succession of mates raised 25 chicks — the last trio of fledglings last June — on the narrow 12th-floor ledge over Fifth Avenue.
The hawks also achieved a measure of world fame, through television specials and a book, "Red-Tails in Love." On summer weekends, crowds have gathered at the Central Park boat pond to observe them.
"I am outraged," said a teary-eyed Jane Corin, who lives across the street. "That building has been very good about this until now. It's heartbreaking."
Pale Male — so named for his whitish plumage — and his mate, Lola, were nowhere to be seen as the nest was removed, nor were any of their latest offspring.
"The hawks will come back and find the nest is gone," said bird hobbyist Lincoln Karim, an engineer at Associated Press Television News who in summer often lets people view the birds through his giant telephoto camera. "How could these people do this?"
City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benape (search) said he was consulting with state officials to determine who removed the nest and whether any law or regulation had been broken.
Red-tailed hawks are not legally protected, he said but the loss of the birds would hurt because "they limit the rodent population in an area where natural predators were absent for a long time."
A doorman at the building said it was managed by Brown Harris Stevens (search), a prominent Manhattan real estate firm. At the company office, an employee declined to comment.