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View of New York Harbor

Ranger Stories
The Ranger Stories series offers an insider's look at the national parks that ring New York Harbor.

A Ranger Story

Hawking on the Harbor

What makes hawks such amazing predators -- and where are the best places in New York City to see them? Let National Park Service Ranger Dave Taft share his insights and expertise with you -- and hear about his memorable experience watching a peregrine falcon make a kill.

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Dave Taft Dave Taft grew up in Canarsie where he learned to collect, trap, and study insects, fish, crabs, spiders, turtles, snakes, ferns, orchids, and other unfortunates not quick enough to escape. Thirty years later, he is still collecting, trapping and studying — but for the National Park Service. Currently, he serves as District Ranger at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Gateway National Recreation Area.

A trained artist, Mr. Taft frequently paints or draws from familiar landscapes and objects found near the park. Says Taft: "There is always something unexpected about nature in New York City. Even a simple find (such as a dead bee on a visitor center windowsill) can lead to important personal discoveries."

For information on the hawk-watching sites mentioned in this recording, where up to 17 hawk species may be seen during the fall migration, visit our Fort Tilden, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge and Floyd Bennett Field pages.

Peregrine falcon
A peregrine falcon on the wing

Jamaica Bay map
Hawk-watching sites in New York City include Fort Tilden, Floyd Bennet Field and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge in Brooklyn and Queens.