Hello, sir. You look sweet, with those soulful, puppy dog eyes and Muppet face... but you aren't fooling us. You're a stone-cold killer, one that is probably digesting at least one bird in your gizzard at any given moment, and very likely in this moment. Is it a pigeon? Don't tell us.
On Monday, a group of coworkers in Manhattan got a visitor on their ledge: this peregrine falcon. While these raptors can reach up to 240 MPH, they can also enjoy a nice 0 MPH perch, during which time they can see directly into your soul, as we are witnessing here.
The group who spotted this majestic creature was working on the 18th floor of a building near 26th Street and 6th Avenue when it swooped in. The tipster who took this striking image (and wished to remain anonymous), says they were two feet away when they snapped this photo: "We opened the window a couple of times for pictures and it didn’t flinch." The falcon stayed there for at least five hours, looking very stoic — if a little goofy and vulnerable — as the humans looked on.
"We thought it might have been a pigeon dressed up for Halloween," our tipster quipped. Joking aside, this would be a great costume for a falcon, as one of its main prey is the pigeon. But who needs a disguise when you have that kind of speed and those piercing talons?
The onlookers called the Wild Bird Fund and were told "it was potentially normal" for the falcon to be there—so still, for so long—but it's unclear what its circumstances were. Perhaps fate brought it to this ledge, so that you may all gaze upon its glory, or maybe it was partaking in a classic raptor Rest & Digest.
However, it is not out of the question that it was in distress. Rita McMahon of the Wild Bird Fund told us that if the falcon were injured, it should have been reported to the Department of Environmental Conservation "as it is listed as an endangered species." She added, "If the bird was well and just hanging out while it digested its lunch, no problem... If the bird was in distress, all the pictures and gawkers only added to the bird's critical state."
Update: McMahon believes this falcon was just fine, telling Gothamist, "The crop is distended so I think the bird was digesting its lunch and might not hunt for food for another 6 to 8 hours." She added that "hanging out on the 18th floor would be normal behavior... good place to watch the flight of potential prey and not be hassled by other raptors."
So it's probably out there right now, perched atop some other building like a living gargoyle, eyeing that next pigeon.