Violet has been rescued! December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve to you. Violet has been successfully captured and rescued and is in the good hands of wildlife rehabilitation experts Bobby and Cathy Horvath and is on her way to receiving medical attention. They set up and founded the non-profit rehabilitation group WINORR: Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation. You can learn more about them here: WINORR

The Horvaths came to the park around 2:00PM. Bobby and Violet were together on a terrace railing when I arrived to the park a few minutes beforehand.

Violet is on the left:

Bobby left the balcony and was soaring around in the sky above. This was when the Horvaths arrived with their equipment in the hopes of capturing her.

Violet left the terrace and soared east, north, then south and out of sight for most of the day.


During her absence, I walked around the park with Bobby Horvath and showed him the areas of the park where Violet regularly hunted for rats and mice so he would have a good idea of where to set his traps.

Bobby seemed content most of the day. Some of the regulars in the park reported to us that they saw a hawk eat a rat earlier so maybe it was Bobby. That would explain why he was doing more perching than flying.


Bobby flew from perch to perch and hunted toward the later part of the afternoon. 

Hunting in a fenced-in area of the park still under construction:

Back in the open:

On his way to catch a rat:

Bobby caught a rat in low brush and brought the prey to a tree. 

Violet appeared seemingly out of nowhere and flew to him, chirping to him as if begging for food. They touched talons and this is where I believe a pass-off of prey may have occurred because Violet then landed in a crotch of a tree with a big rat. It might have been the rat Bobby had in his talons moments earlier. Or, Bobby left the rat for Violet in the crotch of the tree earlier and she knew where to find it. 

Violet sat with the rat for a minute then started to try to eat it. But because she could not balance and hold it and pick at it at the same time, it fell to the ground.

The Horvaths had already set a soft wire trap beneath her with live gerbils as bait on the ground near the base of her tree. The trap is such that the gerbils would not have been harmed if Violet landed on top of it. And, Violet would not have been harmed by stepping on the trap. 

Violet paid no attention to the gerbils but instead hopped to the ground to collect her rat. She started hopping around the base of the tree to where two dead rats were laying. One was the rat she dropped but the other was a rat Bobby obviously left for her there some time (a day or more?) before.

One of the rats:

Bobby Horvath took his long net and carefully walked up to her. He successfully netted her, removed her from the net, held her close to him, then handed her to his wife Cathy who was waiting for him. Cathy took Violet in her arms and showed us the dead leg and the bumblefoot which was already beginning to set in on her other foot.

They then put her in a small, sturdy container with a towel as a floor mat and drove her to their rehab facility. They have pledged to send me photos and updates of her progress.

They will have her looked at by a veterinarian who will decide the best medical treatment for her (which may include amputation of the dead appendage). Her bumblefoot will be treated most likely with a topical solution or with antibiotic injections.

Violet will be fed and cared for tenderly by the Horvaths. If it is determined she can be returned to the park, and Bobby hasn't found a new mate by then, she will be. If it seems that she will not be able to be returned to the park or anywhere else in the wild, she will be kept and cared for in a large outdoor enclosure. I will learn more about this enclosure and give you all the information I receive.

Do not fear for Bobby. As cold as this may sound, he will likely take up with a new mate within a couple of weeks at the most. There are many red-tailed hawks in the area and a healthy female may come along and pair up with him.

The Horvaths and Violet below:

Me and the Horvaths and Violet:

I was so awed to be close to Violet, I could not stop stroking the top of her head and giving it a couple of kisses. 

Photo by m. pipik

Violet being examined:

Clear shot of the bumblefoot beginning to set in on Violet's good foot:

The dark spots are the infected areas. They will be treated as soon as possible. If left untreated, she would surely have died soon as it is fatal if not taken care of.

On her way to the rehabilitation facility:

Thanks to m. pipik for sharing this photo: