Mary Tyler Moore Once Fought With Neighbors, Apartment Building’s Board over Nest of Two Hawks

by Will Shepard

Mary Tyler Moore was an actress, producer, and social advocate for many things. She is best known for her work on the television shows, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Dick Van Dyke Show. However, some might not know about her work in social justice causes.

Among many other causes, Mary Tyler Moore served as the international chairwoman for the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. Her work helped thousands of young children overcome their struggles with diabetes.

She was also outspoken on many animal rights issues. One of those examples comes from New York City. In the 1990s, America was captivated by a story about two Red-tailed Hawks that took up residence near Central Park. The two hawks became an overnight sensation and drew a ton of publicity. They were so famous that they even inspired a best-selling book about their love story.

Mary Tyler Moore was one of the many people advocating for their safety at the time. What makes her special in their story is that the pair of Red-tailed Hawks chose to nest on her building. However, the New York City building’s board was trying to remove the nest in 2005. The famous actress would have none of it. She made it a priority to save the hawks.

Mary Tyler Moore Devoted a Lot of Her Time to Saving a Pair of Red-tailed Hawks in NYC

In an interview with Lohud from 2005, Mary Tyler Moore explains why she was fighting so hard for the birds of prey. When the board was trying to remove the nest, the two Red-tails were already famous. More importantly, she wouldn’t stand for the apartment building removing them.

“I … don’t … care. Because we put so much pressure on them that they had to rebuild the support (for the nest). And Pale Male has been with his bride, Lola, circling and laying twigs down, and she’s been organizing them. It looks like everything is going to be back to normal. That was one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.”

This story is both inspiring and disappointing. It speaks volumes about the impact that Mary Tyler Moore had in her life. It also depicts just how much she cared about animal rights. However, it is disappointing to think that a company would disregard animals so quickly.

“They’d like to say I did it because they turned down a buyer we had (for our apartment) and that this is my vengeance. Nothing could be farther from the truth, and to think otherwise – that it was not wholly out of my love for animals – is to deny a whole lifetime of work on behalf of animals.”

Unfortunately, the famous “Pale Male” Red-tail likely passed in 2015 after a long life. But, Mary Tyler Moore’s efforts in saving the nest have had lasting effects. New York City is home to countless mating Red-tailed Hawks now, as well as Peregrine Falcons. And that doesn’t even factor in all of the other birds that don’t fall into the birds of prey category.