Hawk 'harasser' update from Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officer - December 20th, 2013

I received a call this afternoon from the New York state DEC officer I emailed on December 13th about the Hawk-harassing incident I observed earlier that evening.

He told me that he was in Washington Square Park last night and witnessed the white-haired woman who had harassed Rosie feeding the squirrels. 

He approached her and spoke with her for a few minutes (later identifying himself as a DEC Police Officer) and advised her that she should not be harassing the Hawks and to let nature take its course. 

He said that she remarked she would never harm the Hawks but that she would hate to see them take one of the squirrels. To paraphrase, he reiterated that the birds were just acting as nature intended and that she should not attack them.

He said his conversation with her was actually pretty cordial. But he said that he was limited in his capacity as a state officer to enforce anything in this case other than a citation for hunting the Hawks without a license (a far stretch) and that in regards to the illegal squirrel-feeding, any citation would have to be issued by a Park Enforcement Patrol officer.

I hope that merely being spoken to by this officer will have some impact and make her think twice about being aggressive toward the Hawks in the future. However, it appears a summons from PEP is the way to go as far as her and the other Hawk-harassers go since they are violating Parks Department Rule §1-04 Prohibited Uses, section g, which states:

Abuse of Park Animals

No person shall within any park (including any zoo area) molest, chase, wound, trap, hunt, shoot, throw missiles at, kill or remove any animal, any nest, or the eggs of any amphibian, reptile or bird; or knowingly buy, receive, have in his or her possession, sell or give away any such animal or egg taken from or killed within any park (including any zoo area).

There are other emergency contact numbers I and other readers who happen to be in the park and witness the Hawks getting harassed can call. 

If a PEP officer is nowhere to be seen, one can call the Central Communications number (a Parks Department dispatch hub for PEP) 646.613.1200. Although probably not as helpful in these kinds of cases, the Urban Park Rangers' number is 212.628.2345.

Of course, the one person who could really make all the difference by enforcing the ban on squirrel and pigeon-feeding and the ban on abusing park animals is the park administrator Sarah Neilson. Her contact info is:

Sarah Neilson
Washington Square Park Administrator
Executive Director, Washington Square Park Conservancy