A hawk devoured a pigeon in front of throngs of human onlookers on 72nd street Sunday, flying from tree to tree and stopping briefly on the ground in front of Malachy’s bar to feast.
(We await the guidance of our bird-watching readers on whether this is a hawk or a falcon. We’ve heard from several people that it looks like a young red-tailed hawk so that’s what we’re going with.
For now, we’re going with falcon. But once they rule in the comments, we may change the description in the headline and text.)
Grasping the dead pigeon in one talon, the hawk landed on the branch of a tree on 72nd between Columbus and Broadway around 3:45 p.m. and began to eat. Within a minute, a few people started gathering to watch. In five minutes there were at least 30 people surrounding the tree. Nearly everyone pulled out cell phones and started snapping away. Feathers drifted slowly to the sidewalk.
“Wow! How often do you see that?”
The hawk swung from the branch and flew across the street to the ground in front of Malachy’s. The crowd followed behind. After eating for a minute or two, the bird launched back into the air and landed in a tree outside Aveda salon on the corner of Columbus and 72nd, where the air is infused with high-end hair products.
“Ew!” said one woman.
“Hey, it’s gotta eat!” said another.
It took off again, ascending toward the rooftops near the Dakota. It disappeared.
We hear from Tracy Kaler that the bird may have actually captured its prey on 89th street: “[My husband] heard a boom outside our living room window. He said the noise was so loud; he thought a brick had dropped on our air conditioner. He looked outside and saw the bird of prey sitting on our AC unit. Then, he saw the pigeon in its talon and the hawk flew away…Yes, the scene of the crime was just outside our apartment at 89th and West End and my husband witnessed this gruesome happening!”
Upper West Siders generally don’t look twice at real movie-star celebrities. But give us a little nature, raw and gruesome, and we’ll stop everything to gawk.
And from a couple of weeks ago, a hawk in Riverside Park devouring a squirrel:
Photo by Michael Gantcher.