Thursday, December 01, 2011

UPDATE!!! Violet of Washington Square

Photo by Peter Radley
A Violet of Washington Square Park update from Francois Portmann by way of Peter Radley--

Hi All,
Just received this from Peter Radley who volunteers time at Marble cemetery on 2nd street,
See below, it looks like WSP Violet, the pic is low-rez but it looks like a band on the right leg!

Now the note from Peter Radley--

I heard about the Red Tail that was filmed at NYU
this past breeding season had been seen with a broken leg. Well,
I was at the Marble Cemetery around noon today and I
could here 3 crows making all kind of noise. Well, to my
surprise I saw this Red Tail on the ground eating or trying
to while being bombed by the crows.

As I looked closer I could see that the right leg was broken.
Heart breaking! It was having a hard time trying to stand
and eat.


(It isn't exactly clear if Vi's leg is completely broken or ligated and lifeless or both. DB)

Photo by Peter Radley
It was a fresh kill, I took that PIC later after the
crows had finally chased the Red Tail out of the Cemetery.

Well, it can still hunt but who knows how long it will keep


Nest, an Oddity--
The following link was sent to me but I'm not exactly sure what the point of this is and it makes me a bit uneasy. These are falconry birds and the raptor in the film is a Harris Hawk. One of the few raptor species known for coordinated efforts with others, though a number of hawk watchers have reported coordinated efforts between the individual birds in a Red-tail pair of long standing.

Donegal Browne

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Violet's Foot--It Didn't Have To Turn Out This Way

11/26/2011 Lincoln Karim's photo of Violet of Washington Square's ligated foot. And his link to the video below.

This did not have to happen.

Wonderful, extensively experienced rehabbers, Bobby and Cathy Horvath volunteered to remove Violet from the nest on the Bobst Library for a few minutes back in the Spring. A time when she would have been easy to catch bonded to the nest as she was and a time in which wee Pip was still too little to move anywhere yet and was therefore in very small jeopardy of being tumped off the edge The Horvath plan was for Bobby to climb out a nearby window, get onto the nest, take Violet to Cathy who was waiting inside, go in right after her, and treat Vi right there. Nip off that offending band and possible extenuating problem of fish line that was squeezing the life out of her foot, treat her and have her back to her young eyass and agitated mate in likely 15 minutes or less.

Bobby Horvath has gone onto nests for various Samaritan reasons many times over many years. He's the NYC expert, the best record, when it comes to this sort of thing and may well be the World Expert when it comes to urban Red-tail nests hands down. I mean how many cities have had urban Red-tails that were cared for by it's citizens for longer than New York City has?

None I know of.

But no, the Horvaths were precluded from doing what was the best by a cadre of various experts. Experts no doubt very knowledgeable in their fields but their fields were and are not the ins and outs of urban Red-tail nests and urban Red-tail behavior.

I've made it my business to watch closely over years both human habituated Urban Hawk nesting behavior and non-human habituated Rural Hawk nesting behavior and the behavior is very very different.

The top NYC Hawk Watchers know much that isn't in the Red-tail literature or is ever viewed anywhere else other than in a city environment as do the major NYC Raptor Rehabilitators.

We need to learn to trust those who know the ropes of a specific environment and the specific behavior of the hawks that live there and use that knowledge day in and day out.

If I'm going to climb Everest do I find someone with advanced degrees concerning mountains? Heaven's no. I get the guy who's gone up and down the hill a few jillion times to show me the way.

And for more frequent updates on Violet and Bobby, the Washington Square Hawks, visit the blog of one of their main watchers--

Donegal Browne