Spare the rat, spoil the hawk? New York's solution to our unending rodent problem turns out to not be a great thing for our city's returning raptor population. The problem is simple: rats eat rat poison, hawks eat rats, hawks die from rat poison. To that end, recent tests have confirmed that three seemingly healthy hawks that croaked earlier this year died from ingesting rat poison. On the plus side, baby hawks by Washington Square Park!
How exactly to deal with rats while protecting their predators is a tricky topic. The Central Park Conservancy says that it has stopped putting out poison in the park—though some has been seen there near construction sites—and says it now uses "snap traps in tamper-proof boxes that look like bait stations." But the city beyond the park is still filled with buildings happily poisoning the vermin. Which in turn can poison the birds.
And not poisoning rats can have ramifications, too. Just ask the parents near Tompkins Square Park who were horrified when their children's playground turned into a rat resort after the park stopped putting out poison. So the problem of birds of prey dropping from the sky is not one we'd expect to see go away anytime soon.
Meanwhile, and related, remember the story of Lincoln Karim, the birdwatcher who was arrested after he took the body of Pale Male's rat-poisoned girlfriend Lima home for a night? Well, the charges of illegal possession of a raptor without permit and obstruction of government administration have been dismissed. So that's nice. Also nice? Baby hawk live stream!