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Days of protest bring home for hawks back to Manhattan

Thursday, December 16, 2004

NEW YORK -- Two celebrated red-tailed hawks whose eviction from their nest high atop a chic Manhattan building sparked protests from bird watchers will be allowed to rebuild their home in the same spot.

E.J. McAdams, executive director of the New York City Audubon Society, said architects hired by the building's co-op board have developed new nesting area designs that could get the birds back by the end of the week.

But despite the agreement Tuesday, all was not calm outside 927 Fifth Ave.

An advocate for the two famous hawks was arrested and charged with harassing CNN anchor Paula Zahn, who lives in the building, and her husband and two young sons, law enforcement sources said.

Lincoln Karim, 43, was arrested by plainclothes detectives as he prepared to lead a demonstration outside the building on behalf of the hawks, Pale Male and his mate, Lola.

Karim, a video engineer for Associated Press Television News who has devoted most of his spare time and thousands of dollars worth of equipment to recording the hawks, was expected to be arraigned Wednesday.

Police described four separate incidents in which they alleged he angrily approached either Zahn; her husband, Richard Cohen; or their two sons, ages 7 and 11, outside the building.

Cohen is president of the co-op building's board. Like many apartment buildings in New York City, the building is run by a cooperative and a board of directors.

Karim was charged with multiple counts of aggravated harassment and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, said Paul Browne, a police spokesman. Three law enforcement sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, identified the complainant as Zahn.

Karim was being represented by a lawyer arranged for him by another famous resident of 927 Fifth Ave. -- actress Mary Tyler Moore, also an ardent advocate for the hawks.

CNN did not return a call for comment Tuesday. Laurie Morris, deputy director of corporate communications for The Associated Press, said: "We take this matter seriously, and we're trying to learn more."

The incident came shortly before the building's co-op board and The Audubon Society announced an agreement to restore the pigeon spikes that had held the nest in place until a week ago.

"All parties were pleased by the outcome," Cohen said in a statement given to reporters Tuesday.

The two red-tailed hawks, who have been the subject of a book and at least two television documentaries, have remained nearby in Central Park since their nest was removed.

Besides the spikes, the new design will feature a guardrail around the 12th-floor window cornice to address safety concerns. While there was no guarantee what Pale Male and Lola would do, McAdams predicted that they would rebuild their nest on the same spot.

But Moore expressed skepticism about the deal. "I don't believe anything until I see it," she said.


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