Red-Tails in Love
a Book Review
by Marge Evans
Red-Tails in Love is a delightful wildlife drama about the birds in Central Park, New York City. The author is Marie Winn, a columnist who writes on natural history and birdwatching for the Wall Street Journal. She tells about the 6-year stint of watching the birds in the Park with other birdwatchers or "regulars," an eclectic bunch, even by New York standards. Most amazing is the number of birds that stop there, but all were astounded when a pair of red-tails started courting and mating, treating each other with rats and pigeons. Although their first attempt to raise a hatch failed, the hawks returned the next spring and hopes rose again.
Mary Tyler Moore's apartment is just 3 floors down from the adoped nest site and Woody Allen lives down the street. The devoted regulars keep records of all their sightings, but special attention was given to watching every stage of the hawks' efforts to make Central Park home. When chicks finally hatched, the regulars kept a daily virgil from the "hawk bench." All were in ecstasy over their progress. The stores had a run on telescopes and the TV news delivered a regular update.
While the hawks are the celebrities in Winn's book, she packs a lot of delightful anecdotes about surprises which delighted the birders. I'm quite impressed with the journal they keep. Never would I think of New York City as a place to go birding, but wouldn't it be fun to check out the "regulars" on the next visit! Vintage is the publisher; it is a quick-read 263 pages.