In the Winter of 1991, a red tailed hawk lands in Central Park.
The bold newcomer has one goal in mind: create a dynasty of red tails in the heart of
New York City.
A young wildlife filmmaker wannabe decides to buy a video camera and starts following the hawk in its quest.
It's the beginning of a unique New York love story that is both fairytale and fable but all completely true.
This is a tribute to the magic of nature and the spirit of the greatest city in the world.
What YOU say...
"The true magic of Nature and the great spirit of New York, all in one film! A true story of love, friendship and the amazing power of life in the greatest city in the world." - Gaud, NYC
"This is an almost unbelievable tale. So fascinating, even if you’re not a birder." - Deborah, Houston
"Even if you think Hawk flicks are for the birds, this raptor movie will make you rapturous. I smile all the way through!" Larry, NY
"Shows the human/wildlife connection at its most poignant! One of the great nature films of all time!" - EJ, NYC
"The legend of Pale Male is a powerful moving story told with the elegant simplicity of a first time filmmaker. It demonstrates the power of Wildlife to rouse the human soul and bring hope for kinship with nature - even in a huge bustling city." - Steve, CO
“Love this. The film is a “legend” in its own right” - Max, Paris
Please send us your reviews & comments
At the age of 23, Frederic Lilien leaves his native country of Belgium for NYC. His first film, “Pale Male” garnered 15 international awards and has aired in more than 75 countries. His work has been featured in documentaries for HBO, Canal Plus, Turner Broadcasting, and PBS.
He presently produces immersive experience in 360° for National Geographic.
For nearly thirty years, Fred Kaufman has been one of the top executives in the natural history genre. As executive producer of the acclaimed series Nature on PBS since 1991, Kaufman has won multiple Emmys and Peabody Awards. During his tenure, Nature has been honored with over 700 industry awards. In 2012, Kaufman received the Lifetime Achievement Award for Media from the International Wildlife Film Festival.
Janet Hess is the Series Editor of NATURE, the premier natural history series from Thirteen/WNET for PBS. She has written and produced some 50 documentary programs. She collaborated with Frederic Lilien on his first film, the original “Pale Male,” for which she was awarded the news and documentary Emmy Award for writing.
Lenny Williams is a six-time national Emmy Award winning composer who has written original music for more than 1000 documentary films. His recording career includes work on various gold and platinum records and two Grammy Award winning albums.
Larry is an underwater cinematographer specializing in whales and dolphins. He has worked on numerous, award winning documentaries for PBS/ Nature, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, feature films and art projects. He is currently filming and producing an immersive “full dome” theatre event on whales and dolphins.
HOW THE FILM WAS MADE
"When I started this project, I had no filmmaking experience, no budget, and no self confidence whatsoever . All I had was this idea of following a bird trying to survive in New York City.
I believe the film got made thanks to three things:
Pale Male survived. If he had perished, that was the end of it. He has lost five of his mates already, but amazingly, this extraordinary bird is still alive today, ...28 years later.
The story never died, it only got better and better over two decades. A truly magical story that could happen... only in New York!
As a first-time filmmaker, I could never have made this film by myself. What amazes me to this day is how so many people from all walks of life so generously helped me make this film. New Yorkers opened the doors of their apartments, of their terraces, of their editing studios... I ended up surrounded by an extremely talented team of professionals, all with one goal in mind - to tell this small but remarkable story be told. "
Frédéric Lilien, filmmaker
For the past 15 years, Lincoln Karim has been almost on a daily basis taking pictures of Pale Male. His goal is to protect Pale Male, all wild creatures living in the heart of the city and their habitat. Not only he is extremely dedicated and talented, Lincoln is also really generous with his work. His pictures are spectacular and I owe him some of the most beautiful shots in the film. You can see some of his work right here. Please visit his website and give him your support
All pictures courtesy of
Beginning of 2012, Pale Male's mate Lima ( background picture ) died from ingesting a poisoned rat. That Spring, Pale Male’s new mate Zena produced 3 young. The three were poisoned. One died, the two others were rescued and rehabilitated. Zena herself died from eating a poisoned rat later on that year.
Since then, we estimate that at least 20 red tails have died from secondary poisoning.
The culprit is most often the rodenticide brodifacoum. Although the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation does not use this rodenticide in city parks, it is among the most frequently used rodenticides by homeowners and building managers.
As the hawk population is growing and spreading in cities around the country, we encourage building owners and managers to use alternate methods of rat control. Please check with your building management to make sure they know what to do and when.
Here are the guidelines from
Over the past three decades, local wildlife rehabilitation centers have rescued our injured & poisoned hawks with great care.
These non for profit organizations deserve our support. Please consider giving yours.Thank you!
If you are a non for profit organization and you are interested to present "The Legend of Pale Male" for a fundraising event, don't hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you the best way we can.
WHY THIS FILM ?
Mary Anne Weber
Education Director, Houston Audubon Society
Never has a movie demonstrated the power of a global community transformed by a single living creature.
Never has a single bird spawned books, movies, photography obsessions, blogs, unique uses of technology and an international movement.
This film is inspiring on a multitude of levels. For older students considering their future careers it can powerfully showcase an array of opportunities that combine a love of the natural world and a passion for writing, science, technology and more. From the casual observer turning citizen scientist, to the photographer, poet and writer, the movie highlights them all.
The Legend of Pale Male is not just a heartwarming film about a special Red-tailed Hawk. The film is a story of the transformative power this one bird has had on a diverse array of people. People who were strangers before become intimately linked in the film. Unbeknownst to Pale Male, his life removes barriers across ethnic lines, social classes, income levels, gender, religion, race and more. His story becomes a social experiment being played out in Central Park. His story is as much about the people as it is about his own love and loss. No bird in the world has been so closely monitored and watched over the last twenty eight years. His story and survival has provided material for not only the scientific world but the arts as well. Students may well discover new possibilities for their future while watching and fully contemplating this one of a kind love story.
Educator’s Guide Objectives and Format
This educator’s guide is designed to enable educators to use the film, as the starting point for a wide variety of instructional applications. While at the same time addressing the universal academic content targets; the information provided may be used for planning discussions, lessons, and/or entire units.
THE FILM IS MOST APPROPRIATE FOR GRADES THREE AND UP
[SEE CREATIVE COMMONS FOR PROPER LICENSING]
All Rights Reserved. Copyright 2015 Steve Kennedy
The authors grant limited permission to educators to reproduce materials in this guide for use by students in their classrooms.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LESSON STARTERS & PLANS