A pair of red-tailed hawks, which have made the pediment of Collins Hall at the Rose Hill campus their home, now have new members of the family.
The hawks, nicknamed Hawkeye and Rose, had three eyasses, or nestling hawks, last year and have three more this year. The fledglings are believed to have hatched in May and can be seen from time to time near the left side of the Collins Hall pediment. The location is only a hawk’s swoop away from the Archbishop Hughes statue, where the adult hawks can often be spotted.
The red-tailed hawk is a large bird of prey. It breeds almost throughout North America from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama. Throughout their range in Canada, Mexico and the United States, the hawks are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.
The birds have been a mainstay in New York and other cities, and were made famous in the book, Red-Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park (Pantheon Books, 1998), which chronicled the story of Pale Male and his mate, Lola. The documentary about the hawks,Pale Male, by filmmaker Frederic Lilien and narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Joanne Woodward aired on the public television program, Nature. Lilien was on the Rose Hill campus in May to shoot footage of the hawks for another documentary he is producing about the birds.
Over the years, the hawks have nested everywhere from the American Museum of Natural History to the Unisphere in Queens. In 2004, there was a public uproar over a Fifth Avenue co-op building’s decision to destroy Pale Male and Lola’s nest, which had grown to a size of eight feet and 400 pounds.
Fordham is an ideal location for the hawks, said Richard Fleisher, Ph.D., a professor of political science and avid nature photographer who has tracked the hawks’ stay at Fordham. There are plenty of squirrels and pigeons for the hawks to prey on, he said, while having no predators to worry about. Hawkeye and Rose first built their nest, Fleisher said, in 2005 on an old oak tree at the Rose Hill campus and successfully fledged two offspring. The following year, the hawks moved into the Collins Hall location and produced three hatchlings. This year, two of hatchlings have already fledged, Fleisher said, and the third should be ready to leave the nest soon. Fleischer has several photos of the red-tailed hawks on hisFordham website.