Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Letter from NYU's Myisha Priest-Can Violet Make It Through the Winter? And Dis-ed By Another Country Hawk

A close crop of Violet of Washington Square's foot taken from a Lincoln Karim photo.

There appears to be very little connecting Violet's foot to her leg at this point.

Today I received an email from Myisha Priest, an original watcher of Violet before the hawk cam, who teaches at NYU and hosted the Wild NYC event.

Hi Donna,
I think of you often. You've been so quiet lately that I've gotten a little irregular, but checked into your blog today and saw Violet's foot. Full of tears.
Can she be helped? How is she going get through the winter with that foot?


Dear Myisha,

Yes, I have been quiet. To tell the truth the whole rat poison issue and the loss of the hawks I knew so well, stilled me for awhile.
I needed to ponder and be still. But now there’s this and I can be still no longer.

As we know this didn't need to happen. Violet could have been helped when the foot was merely swollen but access to her by rehabilitators was denied and now we have this. Since I wrote to you earlier I did a deep crop of Lincoln Karim's photo for a better look and there appears to be very little at this point attaching Violet's foot to her leg. I doubt very much even were she taken into rehab today that her foot could be saved.

In answer to your question, I don't know if Violet will make it through the winter on her own. I'm not there to watch her hunt right now and I don't know what the prey base is like in Washington Square during the hard months.

Winter can be tough on Red-tailed Hawks, particularly injured ones. When Tristan from the Cathedral nest was injured, with Isolde protecting and likely feeding him, we might have found him in time and got him into rehab. But a winter storm blew in and he was lost.

Something else, when watching the video it appeared to me that Violet was eating a white rat which made me wonder if someone was giving her supplemental food as was done with the Riverside nest when the male was poisoned.

Or perhaps her meal was just an escapee or an extremely pale squirrel.

If she isn't hunting well or the prey base is very low, I do hope someone will organize a team to help her. The least we can do is to try and save her from a death of slow starvation.

Violet is going to need to be very well fed to make it through the winter as she can no longer put one foot up, warm it, and then put it down and put the other up to warm it.

A Red-tail has a special artery that goes directly from the body's core heat to the feet. If she is well fed, whether she can do it herself in winter I don't know, she'd likely be able to crank up her temperature with all those calories so that she might not have to tuck her remaining functional foot to keep it warm.

Another point, if Violet is hungry, isn't hunting well, and does get used to eating supplemental food supplied by humans, it may not be as hard to foot trap her. Then she could be taken into rehab, supplied with plenty of food and warmth and perhaps saved.

Another news story concerning Violet's leg--

From the tragic to the ridiculous--And I'm the butt of the joke.

Today I was driving along the road and spied a Red-tailed Hawk hunting from a tree overlooking an athletic field next to a car repair shop.

I thought great. She'll be used to cars pulling into the auto repair place and I ought to be able to grab a pretty good picture of her.

Wrong! No human habituated city hawk she. I pulled in. She turned to look. I lifted the camera and she dove from her perch in a flash leaving me with a swatch of feathers disappearing off the bottom of the frame, then kept to the treeline slipping through branches until she was completely out of sight.

That's what I just love about country hawks. They're so "friendly".

Donegal Browne

1 comment:

Latesnake said...

Keep up the Blog. I've missed reading it. I check everyday.