What is it about feathered animals that causes them to hover in the vicinity of Times reporters? No sooner had the notorious "Pale Male" finally fled Fifth Avenue and William Grimes's celebrity chickens left the roost, than a hawk flew into the backyard of the Harlem brownstone owned by metro reporter Anemona Hartocollis.
Is it our imagination, or does New York City's hawk population come equipped with honing devices designed specifically to zero in on the local news media?
In any case, this particular hawk also came with lunch -- specifically, a pigeon it was peacefully eating while Hartocollis watched and waxed eloquent for a post on the City Room blog this afternoon:
From my study window, I was about even with a magnificent white and caramel-feathered bird wearing fuzzy pantaloons and perched on a high branch of our towering 100-year-old tulip tree, leafless in the winter. The presumed hawk was ripping beak-fulls of red meat out of what appeared to be a pigeon swooning across the branch, belly up, its little claws sticking straight out like a corpse in the morgue.
After pausing for a bit of reportorial background on the city's hawk population, Hartocollis returned to her prose poem:
As I watched, the hawk remained calm, alternately ripping, swallowing, then showing me its profile, fixing me with its sharp eye. If it could spot a rat or a pigeon from the sky, I was pretty sure it could see me behind the glass. But it didn’t mind. My husband thought the sacrificial pigeon was being eaten alive. I think that was just a breeze ruffing its pigeon feathers. (Among the other sad endings that pigeons face: pigeon-napping.)
I was flattered that the hawk liked our tree, awed by its savagery.
The Nytpicker is awed by the media savvy of the New York City hawk -- to simultaneously eat a pigeon and fix a Times reporter with its sharp eye. No wonder we find these animals so worthy of press coverage. We wonder where this publicity-starved bird will stop next; we're hoping it lands on top of Alessandra Stanley's television set, and would strongly advise it to avoid a stop in Mark Bittman's kitchen.