Upper West Side condo board wants to evict falcons
New York Post
By Kate Briquelet
10 August 2014

Photo: Richard H. Fried
What a bunch of birdbrains.

The board of a swanky condo at 25 Central Park West wants to evict a family of endangered peregrine falcons — including two hatchlings just 3 months old — that are roosting on a millionaire’s windowsill.

The rare raptors first appeared on the ledge outside the bathroom window of parking magnate Steve Nis­lick and his wife, Linda Marcus, in 2010. The peregrines, who mate for life, returned every year since to their nest overlooking the park — but their eggs never hatched.

This spring, Marcus installed a 3-foot-wide nesting box to the perch outside their 32nd-story penthouse at the landmark Century building. The box, weighed down with gravel and bolted to the wall, ensured that the birds and eggs were protected from harsh weather.

On May 10, two chicks were born. Every day, the falcon couple — named Cruiser and Comet — return to the ledge at sunrise to teach their fledglings, ­almost fully grown at 17 inches tall, to hunt.
But condo-board president Mike Kelly says this just won’t fly.

“He’s going to build an illegal falcon’s nest 300 feet above people’s heads,” Kelly said of Nis­lick, an animal activist.
Kelly said the box could fall and injure passers-by.

“Somebody did something without telling us,” Kelly said. “We’re trying to find out what our legal obligations are.”

The building manager, Eric Lyons of Douglas Elliman, has proclaimed that the bird box will get the boot.

Lyons “wants to get rid of it quietly,” fumed Marcus, whose husband founded NYCLASS, the group that wants to ban horse-drawn carriages on animal-cruelty grounds. “When I asked if there was anyone else I could talk to, he said, ‘I’m not at liberty to tell you.’ It’s shocking.”

Lyons hung up the phone on a Post reporter asking for comment.

Apartments in the building, where Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos and U2’s Larry Mullen Jr. own pads, go for upward of $9.8 million.
Kelly told The Post the nest violates landmarks law and prevents exterior renovations.

A spokeswoman for the Landmarks Preservation Commission said the city will review the box and determine whether Marcus should apply for a work permit.
Cruiser and Comet could ruffle feathers as much as Pale Male and Lola, the city’s famous red-tailed hawks who were evicted from a Fifth Avenue co-op overlooking Central Park.

In 2004, the co-op board caused a furor by removing Pale Male’s nest.

It was eventually reinstalled after negotiations involving the city, the co-op and the New York City Audubon Society.

Peregrine falcons were nearly eradicated by pesticides in the 1960s. There are only about 20 nesting pairs in New York City.

“It’s incredibly special to have peregrines on your windowsill,” said Dr. Richard Fried of Lincoln Square Veterinary Hospital.

“They’re still in danger in our area. This particular pair was only successful after a nest box was put up. It would be a tragedy for them to lose that box.”

Aging stud Pale Male flies on
Red-tailed hawk Pale Male became a city legend in the 1990s, soaring above Central Park and nesting with mate Lola on a ledge at a celebrity-studded co-op at 927 Fifth Ave.

But in 2004, residents dumped the lovebirds’ nest and sparked a firestorm. They eventually installed a steel cradle for the hawks, but their eggs never hatched. It wasn’t until seven years later that Pale Male — now about 24 years old — sired more hawks.

Several of his offspring and mates have disappeared or died. All told, the stud has had 38 chicks and eight partners, says photographer Lincoln Karim, who has tracked the hawk for 13 years. Today, Pale Male lives in the same Fifth Avenue nest, and his new belle, Octavia, hatched three chicks in April.


Condo takes down endangered peregrine falcon’s nesting box
New York Post
by Kate Briquelet
21 September 2014

A Central Park West condo — with the blessing of the state agency charged with protecting wildlife — has destroyed the man-made nest a pair of endangered peregrine falcons used to breed and raise two rare chicks.

Comet and Cruiser’s nesting box had been secured to the penthouse windowsill of animal advocates Steve Nislick and wife Linda Marcus at 25 Central Park West. But construction workers on scaffolds removed the box without warning on Monday, Marcus said. Shortly after, the condo board sent a letter to her apartment saying the board authorized the removal because of the “dangerous condition” it posed to pedestrians and residents below.

“I looked out the window and it was gone,” Marcus said. “The birds came back and were making all kinds of noise. It was heartbreaking.”

Board president Mike Kelly said a letter from the state Department of Environmental Conservation — indicating no state approval was needed to trash the box and that the agency didn’t anticipate its removal would result in any harm — sealed their decision.

“It’s not the board against the birds,” Kelly said. “[Marcus and Nislick’s] emotional investment in the animals can blind them to what the consequences are for people.”

Falcon experts are crying foul
“The survival of these birds is reliant on the hospitality of strangers,” Robert F. Kennedy Jr. — a master falconer — told The Post.

Experts say losing the box means the 17-inch-tall predators may not breed successfully. Once a peregrine finds a perch to call home, it will typically return there. But eggs laid on building ledges often break.

A DEC spokesman said peregrine eggs and babies are protected in New York state, but the agency determined no harm would be done by destroying the box since the baby birds have flown the coop.

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