Rats have gotten very frisky this summer, making a home for themselves in and around the playgrounds on the Upper West Side. They’ve been congregating in such large numbers that parents have to keep their kids away from sections of the playground.

But they may be getting a little complacent, because lately we’ve been getting more pictures like the one above. Alison Ehrmann took the photo above on Sunday outside the Hippo Playground in Riverside Park near 91st Street. That hawk is not playing.

Not. Playing.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 12 comments | permalink
    1. Josiah says:

      My daughter and I were bike riding yesterday and saw a hawk swoop down on a large group of sparrows.
      The hawk left empty- taloned, but it was incredibly fast and I was stunned as to how close we were…
      This was in Riversdie park just south of the 95th street exit on the HHP.

      • B.B. says:

        Hawks like owls and a few other birds of prey are quick and silent. This comes in useful when the prey is say rodents who most often have excellent hearing if not poor eyesight.

        In short at least for rodents they most often never see it coming. *LOL* There is safety in numbers and so best hope is that out of a group of prey one spots the danger and gives the signal.

    2. David Tillyer says:

      That’s a great picture. Who’s the photographer?

      I’ve had a lot of trouble with the rat colony in my garden in DeWitt Clinton Park at 54th and Eleventh.

      Lot’s of holes in the beds. I keep running the hose in the holes…doesn’t do much good, but it’s fun.

      • Gigi says:


        • Alison Ehrmann says:

          I’m the photographer – west side rag gave me credit. Taken on my iPhone – was able to really close (although photo is cropped). Hawk was so chill.

      • B.B. says:

        Nearly all rodents that borrow nests underground have long figured out how to avoid flooding. Well minor amounts at least.

        The holes go down, a bit sideways then upwards to make the “nest”. This way unless there is super major flooding the home remains mostly dry.

        Co-worker had rats building nests in tree beds in front of her building. The mounds above ground were rather huge.

        Oh and most rat borrows/nests have more than one hole (the second or third act as emergency exits). So even if you did flood rats out, they could escape and would very likely return home soon as water subsides.

        Reason why fumigation and or dry ice works for rodent borrows is that the gases used (cyanide, Co2) are heavier than oxygen. So first they will sink down into the holes, then rise up into any other voids (the actual nest) if it is as described as above.

        Since you as a private person cannot get hold of fumigates used for killing rodents (well not legally anyway), try reaching out to DOH to see if they will employ the dry ice method in your garden.

    3. Yay! A natural solution. Let’s hope the hawks stay hungry.

    4. Don Price says:

      I think it’s a revolting photo. I never understand why rats get such a bad rap (the Bubonic Plague happened decades ago) a number of my friends have had pet rats whom they’ve adored. If they had furry tails they would probably would be loved like squirrels…..they are creatures with feelings and that photo, as I said, is revolting.

      • B.B. says:

        Hate to be the one to break this to you; but the hawks like owls and other birds that feed upon rodents are doing what comes naturally. It simply mother nature’s way.

        Do not worry about “Ben” and or his friends. Again nature compensates in that rats breed so often and in great numbers that they will never be eradicated alone by predation. Nature always seeks to create a balance. It is man who “exterminates”.

    5. B.B. says:

      Must be that time of year; EV Grieve had a similar picture/story the other day.


    6. Steven says:

      So nice to see that the hawk is eating a locavore, farm to table diet.

    7. Leah says:

      What gorgeous photos! I was lucky to see this beauty
      Yesterday morning