Audubon Day – Pale Male

Book Jacket

Pale Male, Citizen Hawk of New York City by Janet Schulman is a touching story of a love affair between 2 red-tail hawks and the people of New York City as well as other people from other countries of the world.
The story opens with the male hawk, Pale Male stopping by Central Park. Birdwatchers in the park named him Pale Male as he had beige feathers versus dark brown feathers of more mature hawks. His tail feathers were brown, which meant he was young. Red-tail hawks get red tail feathers when they reach 2 years of age.
Pale Male’s visit was unique because he did not leave. Most hawks stay a brief time at Central Park when they visit, as they prefer more quiet locations such as wooden mountains and farmlands. Pale Male’s presence created quite a stir among daily park visitors, birdwatchers, high-rise dwellers, and international visitors to New York City.

Audubon Day – Red-Tails in Love

red tails

Red-Tails in Love by Marie Winn
The scene of this enchanting (and true) story is the Ramble, an unknown wilderness deep in the heart of New York’s fabled Central Park. There an odd and amiable band of nature lovers devote themselves to observing and protecting the park’s rich wildlife. When a pair of red-tailed hawks builds a nest atop a Fifth Avenue apartment house across the street from the model-boat pond, Marie Winn, Wall Street Journal Nature columnist and her fellow “Regulars” are soon transformed into obsessed hawk watchers. The hilarious and occasionally heartbreaking saga of Pale Male and his mate as they struggle to raise a family in their unprecedented nest site and the affectionate portrait of the humans who fall under their spell will delight and inspire readers for years to come ( Review).

Stories of bird watching in the wild are usually located in rural locales. Two red-tail hawks building a nest and mating in the heart of Central Park in New York City is a true novelty. Marie Winn uses her expertise to inform and entertain the reader. In this delightful account, Winn tells of birding in Central Park with an unlikely band of fellow enthusiasts (including Mary Tyler Moore and Woody Allen). ( Review) ( on July 21, 1999)

It’s also a fascinating story of a group of dedicated people who care so much for the birds of the park. And, for someone who virtually grew up in Central Park, it came as a revelation of an inner life unsuspected till recently. The weekend after I finished this book I located places in the Rambles that I never knew existed (the Azalea pond) and was rewarded with my first ever glimpse of a woodpecker hard at work! This book might just turn me into a bird watcher! (Margaret M. Duffy on May 26, 2000)

The book would be an excellent choice for anyone who wants a good read, nonfiction, with an element of suspense and lots of humor. (Anonymous Reader Review)


The Day the World Came to Town on 9/11 by Jim DeFede

 Book_DayWorldCameToTown Jim DeFede

I had the pleasure of reading The day the world came to town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim Defede.

The vague title only hints at the depth of a story about the patriotic cohesiveness of a small town that opened its heart to survivors of the September 11th disaster.    Journalist Defede calls our attention to a sidelight of the September 11th  events, when Gander, Newfoundland (pop.10,000) was overwhelmed by more than 6,500 air travelers grounded when US airspace was shut down.

This story includes many details of the town’s tireless efforts to comfort and reassure the survivors. The townspeople opened their homes to survivors to use showers and freely gave them clean clothing,  as well as toiletries, clean sheets and towels for their use in the shelters.  The Canadian Tire Store manager became the coordinator of a huge toy drive so each child would have a toy of their own.  The local Walmart store opened their doors to the survivors for whatever they needed without any question of payment.   Prescription medicines were refilled free of charge for survivors.  Every person in town contributed food and time for food preparation to feed the survivors.  One of the survivors lodged in a church, woke about 3am one morning to find the pastor awake and sitting by the door.  When the pastor was asked why he was awake and sitting by the door, he replied  “we felt we should watch over everyone”.   In the Publisher’s Weekly book review it says, “They placed their lives on hold for a group of strangers and asked nothing in return”.  The townspeople were never concerned with the gender, race, religion, age or nationality of the survivors.  Everyone’s primary concerns were making sure that the survivors were able to obtain lodging, food, clothing, toiletries, medicines, as well as communication links to their families. Some of the townspeople even retrieved the animals from the cargo hold of the jetliners, providing them with food, shelter, and clean bedding.

The day the world came to town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland is truly an inspiration to anyone who feels that the American people have lost their caring spirit when it comes to others.  You will be spell-bound from the book’s beginning and as each chapter unfolds.  This story will definitely restore your faith in humanity.