A couple of days ago I received a copy of Pale Male - Citizen Hawk of New York City in the mail from my friends at Random House. The big picture book was written by Janet Schulman and illustrated by Meilo So.
The book chronicles the fascinating tale of Pale Male, a red-tailed hawk that calls New York City home. He made headlines in 2004 when management for the building he and his mate had nested in for several years made the decision to remove both the nest and the structure that supported it; all allowed as part of the change to the Migratory Bird Treaty under the Bush administration. (I would insert some choice language about how I feel towards the Bush administration's poor environment and wildlife record, but this story is about a magnificent bird and not about my own personal soapbox.)
New York citizenry stepped up to the plate and let the world know how they felt about their feathered neighbors. Good deeds often bring good results, and Pale Male's home was reinstalled!
Though I already knew about the New York City hawk's story, this book turns it charmingly into an avian adventure with a heartwarming ending. As a nature lover, it brings a smile to my face whenever humans "do the right thing". There are so many heartbreaking sagas nowadays about wildlife and the loss of habitat, it is uplifting to read a success story.
Interesting fact: the illustrator, Meilo So, lives in the Shetland Islands and in a haven for wild birds. She does a terrific job bringing the story of Pale Male to life with beautiful watercolors.
You can see actual photos of Pale Male and his progeny here. And listen to the call of a red-tailed hawk at this site.