NYTimes online Hawk Cam update on Violet


Violet's grave condition has been written about in the New York Times's online Hawk Cam editorial page. I recommend you read the article since it consolidates the latest rescue attempt news and raptor professionals' reactions to Violet's situation in one informative piece.

As an aside, both Bobby and Violet were seen roosting together in their regular night-time roost last night.

I want to take this time to 'break my silence' on Violet's state so to speak. My plan was to remain stoic and objective on the blog and to maintain a more documentarian-esque approach during this emotionally-charged time. But that stance wasn't feeling authentic anymore; especially since I've always had a more personal approach in my writing since I started this blog. Because of your warm support, I feel 'safe' to express myself.

The last few days since Thanksgiving have been heartbreaking and a bit of a roller coaster ride emotionally for me. It was only after I was home and looking through the day's photos of the hawks did I graphically see just how bad off Violet's leg truly was. It was the first time the coloring looked ashen and in my gut I knew it could not be good. 

I had noticed that she had trouble balancing from time to time when landing on a branch or building but the flesh of her banded leg was always yellow like the other leg. Seeing the change in her foot's coloring was alarming but I had no idea (being no scientist or biologist) that her leg was actually necrotic. I almost didn't post the photos due to how graphic they were but I'm glad I did or else they wouldn't have come to the notice of local wildlife rehabbers in the area (those who knew well more than I possibly could that the leg was necrotic).

I grew up in the deep woods so am not a stranger to injury and death in wildlife. Having all that experience helped me develop a bit of an objective stance when it comes to witnessing such things. But my heart broke and sank when I saw my photos and then the first few seconds of Lincoln's video of her a couple of days later. Thanks to Lincoln's post, news of her condition spread like wildfire and we were all able to learn just how dire her condition is. 

I am conflicted now as to what should happen next. I do hope she can get safely captured and I hope she can get the best medical attention possible. Capturing her would be close to impossible but if she were captured and her leg had to be amputated, so be it. It is a useless appendage as it is and could make her entire body septic and kill her. She could probably survive with one leg (as she is now in all actuality) but I can't imagine what kind of quality of life she would have. She certainly could not be released back into the wild in that condition so perhaps the humane option would be to keep her protected and fed in an enclosure as close to the outdoor environment as possible. 

But this is where the mind flickers over so many possibilities and ethical dilemmas (with no internal resolution). The basic truth is we all want the best for her and that means health and longevity. How and if that is in her near future is what sadly remains to be seen. 

Violet and Bobby close together - November 27, 2011

Update: I had originally only posted a few photos from Sunday, my last visit to Washington Square Park. I recently added all the photos intended for this post (see below). It is now complete. 

Bobby watching scattering pigeons below him:

After a little bit of preening, Bobby looked across some trees then flew instantly to his target:

He caught a rat:

A nearby squirrel taunted him as soon as he landed so Bobby reared back and charged it a couple of steps:

He and Violet flew to a nearby building top to eat his meal. One of the hawks: 

They used the building top as a dining platform and sat together for a few minutes before separating:


Bobby and Violet then shared the same tree. Violet is on the higher branch. You can make out Bobby's wing on the lower branch:


She eventually took off and flew around the corner from the park for the day (not to be seen again during my visit):

Bobby on his own again:

He cocked his head curiously to the side to have a better listen to a young man's rolling skateboard:

Bobby flew north past the arch and out of sight for the rest of the evening:

Sea gulls flying in V formation: