Watching the Superman building’s lone tenant

(WPRI) — Peter Green has a ‘hawkeye’ for flying raptors that you might not notice as they swoop down on unsuspecting prey in Providence.

While pigeons and squirrels should beware, pedestrians don’t seem to realize the air assault is going on right above them.

“You can see in my pictures, the hawks literally fly through people in Burnside Park,” Green says. “And they don’t even know.”

Green is known as Downcity Hawk for his collection of internationally known pictures of a variety of what he calls urban raptors.

He’s taken thousands of pictures that show the birds in places you wouldn’t think to look; A Screech Owl tucked inside a tree on the east side, a Red-tailed Hawk that just took down a pigeon, another hawk balancing on the state house’s Independent Man.

The most famous of the predators might be a female Peregrine Falcon with a bird’s eye view from the top of the now vacant ‘Superman building.’ The falcon is a protected species, which prompted the Audubon Society of Rhode Island to put a birdhouse on the building.

“She’s been there since 1999. She’s had over 30 chicks so far,” Green tells us. “And this is the third mate. Each year the mates have to fight for her.”

Green’s high flying hobby started several years ago with him spotting what he thought were pigeons soaring to the top of Providence’s tallest skyscraper.

“It wasn’t a pigeon,” Green says, thinking back to what he saw from his sixth floor office window. “It was actually something eating a pigeon. It was tearing a pigeon apart.”

It was the Peregrine Falcon, and she prompted Green to ask questions about why she lived atop the skyscraper. He would discover a variety of raptors in the city, snacking on pigeons, squirrels and other prey. Sharp-shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Kestrels, Barred Owls, Barn Owls and the falcon family.

As he was showing us some of his images, we saw firsthand why he loves his office window.

“There’s a hawk right out the window,” Green yelled, pointing to the ledge across the street. “There it is, there it is. Look, a Red-tailed Hawk.”

He pointed out the bird was clearly hunting, but it flew away without a meal.

Green has expanded his downtown photography to include an exhibit he calls 111 of 111, which is a collection of photographs or 111 Westminster.

“The Superman building,” he says. “There’s even a Peregrine Falcon in one of the shots, but it’s hard to see.”

What’s not hard to see is Green’s love for his daily breaks from his job, to stalk the stalking raptors.

“People go on vacations to try to find a falcon or a hawk, and I get to see them outside my window almost every day.”

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