11. Pale Male, the Red-Tailed Hawk

Pale Male in Central Park, one of NYC's famous animals
Image via Wikipedia, Jeremy Soto

Pale Male needs no introduction: the “world’s most famous red-tailed hawk” has plenty of fans and his own Wikipedia page. Born in 1990, he became one of the first “urban-dwelling” red-tailed hawks known to reside on a building rather than nestling in a tree or on a cliff. Due to his perch on top of a 5th Avenue balcony near Central Park, some of his neighbors over the years have included the likes of Woody Allen and Paula Zahn.

One of his zealous supporters was actress Mary Tyler Moore. Moore advocated for his rights when the co-op board that controlled Pale Male’s building removed his nest due to complaints about droppings and eaten animal carcasses. With help from other animal rights activists, Moore took a fierce stand, which prompted the board to come to an agreement with the local Audubon Society. Pale Male’s nest was eventually replaced, and over the years, birdwatchers and websites like Palemale.com have continued to monitor him. Despite the bird’s worldwide fame, there has been debate in recent years over whether he is actually still alive. While some Pale Male watchers cite photographic evidence that he is still alive, others doubt that he’d be able to dodge all of the perils that come with city living for this long and that images of what is assumed to be Pale Male may be another bird.