It’s time to get the story straight. Our Hero Hawkmadinejad, christened and courted with gads of sightings over the course of last school year, proved pervasive and rather uncanny. Commenters squinted at his tail feathers as they seemed to shift from brown to red and then to brown again – rather strange for a red-tailed hawk that only molts in its red retrices once. Something was up with our fair feathered friend.

So here we have it: the truth. From birder and blogger Bruce Yolton,

“I would say Columbia has a juvenile hawk and two adults right now, plus the two fledglings which will begin exploring the campus later this summer.”

I know, I know, it’s shocking to think that Our Hero is, well, rather of the poly-faceted sort, but there you have it. We’ve got a juvi that will probably molt to his/her red tail feathers this coming spring. Then there are a couple of hawks that have shacked up at St. John the Divine and made two beautiful eyases. We’ve been sighting the former three hawks and calling them one.

But there is hope. The juvi, still unnamed, has been called “Hawkmadinejad” by a few bird bloggers in the neighbirdhood – it could become that bird’s official name, or at least the alter ego of “Norman”. And the spirit of the thing remains: our juvi Hero will be arriving down from upstate, where he probably summered, and begin tearing squirrels to shreds around midterm time. The Divine pair are still over at the church, pooping all over the gargoyles and saints – albino peacocks beware! And we’ll be watching it all, camera phones in hand.

Send sightings of and writings on Hawkmadinejad to