“He really was an enchanting person. In some way he was like the spiritual father of everybody…. It is hard to imagine Central Park without Charles Kennedy.” Marie Winn, author of Red-tails in Love, and close friend of Charles, remembering him after his death in October 2004

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Special Excerpt About Pale Male

To celebrate the opening of "The Legend of Pale Male" I offer an excerpt from a new edition of Charles's book Pale Male and Family, which will be available very soon. Charles was a great champion, photographer, and chronicler of the regal red-tail, Pale Male. This 'Prelude' to the new edition is from Charles's field notes--- adorned with a still shot from the film, punctuated with one of his finest haiku creations. Enjoy! And SEE THE FILM at your earliest opportunity. Catch the Pale Male Magic!


     I was born and raised in Iowa. For years I believed I should have been born to a New York family. It took me over 20 years to get to New York City. And luckily I was right about my first migration. New York has been my longest love affair. There’s a vibrancy, and excitement, about this magnificent city. But it is just a city. The part that clinches it for me is the color green. The green of a great park. I wouldn’t have to live in New York City, except for Central Park. This park, this square mile and a third, invented in the middle of this major urban space, is as varied and stimulating as the city as a whole. And what I fly to in the park  is the birds. The park is used by up to 200 species every year. In the last decade, there have been 268 species recorded in Central Park. During spring migration this magical green spot is a mandatory destination for thousands of birds. They need our park, and it turns out that many of us need them.
     I worked as a jeweler for a number of years, with gorgeous stones, minerals, fossils, natural crystals. And that’s what the birds are—only they move. They are these exquisite gem stones, many the weight of a nickel, that can migrate for many thousands of miles and arrive here in this tight little island. Their beauty is extraordinary and the fascination is endless.
     The last couple of years, the hawks in Central Park have become my obsession. And that’s a very current statement to be able to make: the hawks in Central Park. For decades, there were no hawks living in the park. There had been some hawks in the metropolitan area, although not a great number. But, in 1992 a pair of Red-tailed Hawks appeared in the park and set up housekeeping in some of the most exclusive digs in the nation.
From audio tape transcript of Charles preparing material for Frederic Lilien’s documentary film about the Central Park hawks.

nothing happens
almost nothing
a feather falls

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