Thanksgiving Day - Part one of two. November 28th

This first post will be of my Washington Square Park visit today. My second post (which I'll try to complete and publish tomorrow) will be about the Tompkins Square Park visit I had later today when I saw and photographed three Red-tailed Hawks (none of which were Bobby and Rosie).

I spent an hour and a half this morning looking for Bobby and Rosie but did not see either of them. That was disappointing not only because I hadn't been able to visit them in days but because I saw so many new rat traps at the park and Rosie may have eaten part of a poisoned rat on Saturday the 23rd.

A fellow Hawk-watcher was in the park on the 23rd and saw Rosie standing near a dead rat that was lying beside the park's new bathroom that is still undergoing construction. My friend saw Rosie take the rat body to a tree and eat part of it before she moved on, leaving the rest of the rat on the branch.

That area undergoing renovation has rat traps with rodentice in them. And as the new Park Administrator Sarah Neilson wrote me, all the traps in the park (per her email) have the rodenticide Bromadiolone. So it's not a stretch to assume that the rat lying dead in the open was a poisoned rat. 

Other Hawk-watchers or park regulars told me they had seen a Hawk either roosting at the Red Roost Inn at night or at regular perches along the park during the daytime but were not able to identify which Hawk they saw.

I waited to mention Rosie's potentially dangerous meal so as not to create unnecessary worry, especially since I rather expected to get a chance to check on the Hawks (and see both of them) within a day or two of her eating that rat but unforeseen busyness and an illness precluded me from visiting the park until today.

During my walk I was filled with dread since I saw 27 new rat traps in the park today. I will assume all these traps contain the rodenticide Bromadiolone (per Ms. Neilson).

I left a lot of the background/surrounding area in the majority of the photos below in order to show that these traps are different traps taken at different locations. I did this mainly so I could be sure I wasn't including images of the same traps at different angles. No, these 27 traps are unique:








Trap just visible behind construction tarp:







There were plenty of garbage cans with their lids dangling to the sides with their bags wide open, easy for rats to climb into in order to get food:


A trap across from Bobst Library (where the Hawks' nest is) and an open can:


What are we to take away from this? That the Park's policy is of an all-out rat poison offensive (with no regard to the raptors or other animals and pets that may eat the poisoned rats) but to not bother with ensuring rats cannot access food in the garbage cans?



Park maintenance tools left unattended:









More abandoned park maintenance tools and bin:




Park Maintenance station. This area is usually a mess what with tools and garbage lying around:







If you too are as moved as I am about these traps and want to reach out to the WSP administrator directly, Sarah Neilson's contact info is below:

Sarah Neilson
Washington Square Park Administrator
Executive Director, Washington Square Park Conservancy
T 212.408.0297
E Sarah.Neilson@parks.nyc.gov

NYC Parks
Arsenal West 
24 West 61st Street
New York, NY 10023
nyc.gov/parks