Name the New Washington Square Park Gal Hawk; Voting Ends Today After Voter “Fraud” at New York Times Site

Updated(at end)

Squirrel and New Gal Hawk Play?

Updated – So the New York Times is running a poll to choose the name for the new Washington Square Park hawk. I was never quite able to ID Violet over Bobby – never really seeing them too close either – but the “new gal in town” has a very distinctive RED tail. Yes, they are red-tailed hawks but this is veryred and, when she flies, it really shows.

Some people started calling her Noelle when she appeared Christmas Eve Day but, then, I think perhaps Roger_Paw started calling her Rosie based on her distinctive red markings. That name resonated with me. She’s very much a Rosie, strong and spunky. Whereas Noelle; it’s a beautiful name, but, for this hawk, it sounds a bit … I don’t know… meek.

Anyway, you can take part in the poll over here at the New York Times.

Note: there was voter fraud (!) so they are redoing the poll – it ends at 1:43 p.m. today!

I learned a lot from the hawk watchers at the park on Sunday. I was quite worried about the squirrel in the above photo (so priceless the look between the hawk and the squirrel – maybe I’ll try editing it a bit later edited) but one woman told me that the squirrels taunt the hawks to see how far they “can go.”

And it did indeed seem this way. “Rosie” would make a slight move with her wings as if to go for the squirrel and the squirrel would immediately dart away. The squirrel even going as far as up to the branch she was on.

The hawk watcher told me that the squirrels also can wrap themselves around trees so they are not quite so easy to catch. (Although, she noted, “Rosie” did catch one on the ground the other day.) New Gal Hawk knew this squirrel was not a viable option as she stopped paying attention, preening and cleaning herself although every once in awhile she’d do a little jab in the squirrel’s direction. She didn’t seem too fixated whereas I was sitting there on pins and needles.

Oh! Also, she was bringing twigs to the former nest outside NYU President John Sexton’s office on the 12th floor of the Bobst Library that day. (Note — it is not confirmed that they are officially a couple.)

Update! Rosie won.

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So sad to hear WSP Resident Mama Hawk Violet has died

Updated!

Violet at the Horvath's

It happened yesterday afternoon — The Horvath’s announcement via their Facebook page:

We are extremely heart sick to have to announce to everyone that Violet has passed away . She came through the surgery very well. She woke up and was sitting up fluffing her feathers. All of a sudden she had a heart attack. The Vet did CPR on her for 20 minutes to no avail. xrays showed that at some point after her right foot had deteriorated, her left femur was broken. We don’t know how she ever survived for as long as she did. We are somewhat relieved that at least Violet wasn’t suffering alone somewhere. She was warm, peaceful and had a full belly and pain medication.We just couldn’t get her in time.

I felt like in the last week many of the hawk bloggers commenters – and I so appreciate all their amazing coverage! – were so anxious that Bobby have a new mate that Violet was quickly becoming forgotten. I know it may not be always popular to say that it would have been better than she never had a leg band and that she was attended to sooner but both are true.  At the same time, I know when you do any kind of animal or wildlife rescue, it’s so easy to doubt yourself and look back over every decision wondering if it was the right one.

I just hope in the future the powers that be – whether it’s NYU or a governmental agency – can work with others who may have supplemental and additional knowledge that can help the situation. Sometimes it’s so easy, in any field, for people to believe they are such “experts” that they end up ignoring those who are ‘in the trenches.’ We all need to work together.

The New York Daily News reports: [Cathy Horvath] “said they are considering burying Violet in Washington Square Park, where she and her mate often sat in trees, hunting for rats.”

And the Horvaths wrote on Facebook today:

We are going to have a plaque made in honor and memory of Violet. We would like to bring her back to her park and place her at the tree where we were able to finally get her. We will let everyone know once we get all the details settled. We want to thank everyone with all our hearts for the amazing support and kind words. It has been very helpful to us. We are so heartbroken from all of this and it is comforting to know you all cared so much for Violet and for us. thank you again, Cathy and Bobby

I hope they do bury her at WSP.

I liked Violet’s spirit. I liked how the hawk bloggers and watchers would be able to spot Bobby often but Violet’s whereabouts were sometimes a mystery. Yet she’d always return. Bobby and Violet discovered that ledge (as I’ve said before, what are the chances…? outside NYU President John Sexton’s office) and made their nest together there. They defied the odds when everyone said the window for a baby hawk had passed. She looked after Pip beautifully; they both did. And the two hawks added a new vibrancy to the park. In the last few weeks, Bobby had been providing Violet with food to compensate for her injured and worsening leg. I realize a new gal will move in (and may have already) but I really appreciated Bobby and Violet as a pair and, of course, individually. Peace to Violet.

All WSP Blog coverage on Violet, Bobby and Pip here.

(Took a break from my break to post this. New posts resume Tuesday, January 3rd.)

Red-Tailed Mama Hawk Violet Rescued Christmas Eve at Washington Square – Recap of the Story Thus Far

Updated!

Violet and Bobby on nearby Fifth Ave terrace early afternoon 12/24

Violet on WSP tree pre-capture (yes, that's a rat)

Bobby on Park light (I love this shot)

The saga of Red-tailed hawk Mama Violet and the leg band that was causing her troubles began last spring prior to the birth of Pip. The leg band had been placed by the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation) some time ago. Recent reports were sounding pessimistic as to how Violet would ultimately fare. So surprised I was to learn that Christmas Eve (right before the caroling began at 5 p.m. by the Arch), Violet was rescued by Long Island wildlife rehabilitators Bobby and Cathy Horvath with the help of Pondove (the online chat room moderator) who alerted them to how serious Violet’s condition was getting and helped scope out the park and Heather who writes the Roger_Paw Blog who and posted an excellent account. Photos above were taken by her (many more at her site) on 12/24 before the rescue.

They first tried last Tuesday with no luck and Bobby Horvath said “I’ll be back” and they returned Saturday. They were about to leave when Violet came near enough to capture. This occurred near the Holley statue (Western end of the park).

I wrote back in May about the concerns with NYU’s decision (Violet & Bobby chose the window outside NYU President John Sexton’s office as the site of their nest) to call in the DEC after initially receiving advice from the Horvaths. The DEC then overruled that advice which was to capture Violet from the ledge outside John Sexton’s office and remove the band immediately before it could cause trouble (which it then did). I remember all too well the story of Hal, the Central Park Coyote (who unfortunately died at the hands of the DEC, link below).

Previously at WSP Blog: NYS DEC, Mama Hawk Violet’s Rescue, and Remembering Hal the Central Park Coyote May 12th, 2011

The Horvath’s recount the DEC intervention in today’s Daily News story. An NYU spokesperson quoted takes umbrage with this being brought up.

The couple, which runs the nonprofit rescue group Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation, believes Violet’s injuries would not be as severe if she had been captured and treated months ago.

The Horvaths question the wisdom of officials from New York University and the state Department of Environmental Conservation who decided not to intervene last spring. At the time, Violet was caring for her hatchling, Pip, in a nest perched on the window ledge of an NYU building.

A real-time Web feed broadcast images of the hawk family around the world, turning Violet into a global sensation.

But in recent months, her condition has worsened, Cathy Horvath said.“She was getting skinny,” she said. “This whole situation may have been prevented if we could have intervened earlier.”

“Given how concerned everyone was about the hawk’s well-being, it would be a pity to hear people start indulging in recriminations now,” said NYU spokesman John Beckman.

Bobby Horvath, Cathy Horvath & Violet

Violet Captured

You always hope that institutions and governmental agencies will learn from these experiences but somehow their comments and attitudes don’t leave one with much hope that this will be the case.

The New York Times story, Violet the Injured Red-tailed Hawk Captured for Treatment in N.Y.C. Park:

Violet, the red-tailed hawk who has been suffering from a crippling leg injury, was captured for treatment on Saturday in Washington Square Park.

According to the blogger Roger_Paw, who posted a detailed account of it, the Long Island-based raptor rehabilitators Robert and Cathy Horvath of the nonprofit Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation, netted her on the ground after she had flown down from a tree branch to retrieve her prey.

The Horvaths will take Violet, the mother of Pip, to a veterinarian to determine the best course of action for her necrotic right leg, which for more than a year has been swollen around metal wildlife band and which may require amputation. Her good leg — the left one — appears to have been infected with what is known as bumblefoot, a bacterial infection that can be treated with antibiotics.

The capture brings one aspect of the hawk drama full circle: the Horvaths had offered to rescue Violet in May, when her injured leg seemed to be worsening, and they went to observe her from the president’s office at New York University, which looks out onto her nest.

N.Y.U. opted to turn the matter over to the state, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation brought in its own medical rescue team, which concluded that she was coping with her injury well enough that the risks entailed in trying to capture Violet and week-old Pip outweighed the benefits.

The Times coverage has been great with the HawkCam and it’s clear their reporters and readers really bonded with this story. However, they definitely glossed over the details about what happened (in relation to decision not to intervene by DEC/NYU against Horvaths’ advice) in pretty much all accounts of what happened until this article.

There have been a number of inaccurate statements put forth by “experts” (I’m not referring to the Horvaths) along the way. For example, stating that the window for the egg to hatch had passed (egg then hatched), Bobby and Violet will only leave food for Pip for a few weeks and then he’s on his own and may not make it (it ended up being much longer than that), the band has not caused Violet’s leg trouble, etc. etc.

Nonetheless, in light of where we are now, this was the best outcome. I definitely had tears in my eyes reading and seeing the photos from Roger_Paw’s account of what transpired and I’m sure many people did who felt so close to this story. I missed the Christmas Eve caroling and am wondering if I would have encountered the rescue which Heather from Roger_Paw said happened around 4:47 p.m. (Caroling began at 5!)

Wishing the best for Violet and thank you to all who assisted in her rescue!

*********************************************************
p.s. There is a new female who has swooped in at the park (amazing how that works – they sense the vacuum?) and Urban_Hawks Blog has a great recounting and excellent photos here with “New Girl in Town.

Previous coverage at WSP Blog:

Update on Mama Hawk Violet November 29, 2911

Pip, Young Red-tailed hawk, getting ready to leave the nest above Washington Square June 21, 2011

NYS DEC, Mama Hawk Violet’s Rescue, and Remembering Hal the Central Park Coyote May 12th, 2011

Baby Hawk Spotted! On Heels of “Riverside Dad” Hawk Death, Can We Rid Washington Square of Hazardous Rodenticide? May 6, 2011

— note: Parks Dept did rid WSP of rodenticide which has been great!

Violet and Bobby HawkCam Watch April 8, 2011

All Violet, Bobby & Pip coverage here.

Violet and Bobby on the Nest April 2011

Violet and Pip (June 2011)

Photos 1-3: Roger_Paw Blog
Photo 4: Pondove
Photo 6: Christopher James/NYU
Photo 7: D. Bruce Yolton/Urban Hawks Blog

Update on Mama Hawk Violet

Latest on Washington Square’s gorgeous Red-tailed hawk Violet whose leg band is now causing her trouble (tho’ official DEC rep continues to deny that is the issue – DEC placed band there) —

Yesterday’s New York Times City Room blog: Violet the Hawk has Worsening leg problems

Roger_Paw blog has pics of Violet and Bobby together from Sunday.

Thanks to @PipTheHawk alerting me via Twitter.

** Previously on WSP Blog, May 13th, 2011: No Intervention right now for Mama Hawk Violet; Rodenticide Seems to be All Removed from Washington Square

The decision not to intervene was always deemed as controversial and a bit political when the DEC – Department of Environmental Conservation – was brought in by NYU vs. following the advice of seasoned wildlife rehabilitators who were already on the scene. A tough call, without a doubt. Comments at the Times site are worth reading.

Wishing Violet the best —

New Hawk on The Scene Over the Weekend – That is, Until Violet Found Out

Visiting juvenile hawk in the park

Over the weekend, there was a new hawk in town! A juvenile, according to Heather at Roger_Paw blog who has been photographing and reporting back non-stop on the three Washington Square Red-tailed hawks, Violet, Bobby & Pip. Young Pip seems to have flown the coop – as was expected. Apparently, the juveniles typically move on from their birth site, fly south around Fall Migration, and then may return but likely to another location ? I hope I have that right.
This brown & white speckled hawk was here over the weekend September 10th and 11th. On the 11th, Mama Hawk Violet returned and told the visitor to move on.

Violet!

There’s some great photos of the interaction between Violet & the visitor at Roger_Paw blog from Sunday the 11th. On the 10th, mystery hawk had the Park to himself.

Washington Square Squirrel Keeps an eye on Visiting Hawk


It’s unlikely this hawk will return after Violet, in no uncertain terms, expressed her displeasure but … we’ll see.

All Photos: Heather at Roger_Paw Blog

Last Night at Washington Square

Red-tailed Hawk Bobby Perched Atop the Judson Church Cross While…


This is neighborhood Red-tailed hawk Bobby, I presume, atop the Judson Church cross. Previously noted as one of his favorite haunts around the park, he lingered there for a long time.

Baby Soda Band Played on the Garibaldi Stage


Baby Soda (above) last night at the Park. They were quite good!

From their web site:

Baby Soda is on the forefront of a new movement loosely known as street jazz; with an eclectic set of influences ranging from 30’s era swing, New Orleans jazz, and southern gospel. The ensemble doesn’t desire to recreate the past, rather they bring the concept and joy of the music to the present.

Baby Soda is an adaptable and ever changing group made up of New York’s finest musicians; featuring trumpet, trombone, clarinet, banjo and the unique one string box bass.

Mama Hawk Violet Spotted At Washington Square — Visits the Nest With Bobby; Bobby and Pip splitting time between WSP and Union Square

I haven’t written about the Washington Square Park Red-tailed hawks of late. Last Thursday (8/11), hours before the New York Times shut down the HawkCam, and in time to be captured on video, Violet and Bobby returned to the nest together. Mama Hawk Violet had been ‘missing’ – not spotted in close to a month – so there was relief that she was still around and doing okay.

I wonder how they communicated to each other to meet up back there.

Pip - West 3rd Street Antenna Late July

A couple of weeks ago in the early evening at Washington Square, I encountered Bruce from the Urban Hawks Blog and Heather from Roger_Paw blog, who were there with a group seeking Bobby and youngster Pip along Washington Square North. They informed me that the two hawks had begun splitting their time between Washington Square and Union Square. I had mixed feelings about that (feeling a bit, uh, territorial?) but this would appear to give the pigeons and squirrels at Washington Square (and mice and rats, should they be there too) some breathing room.

As for Pip’s gender, I’ve always thought of Pip as a boy but then one of the hawk blogs stated very definitively that Pip is a girl. I started referring to Pip as ‘she’ thinking this was confirmed. According to Andy Newman at the Times (in the comments at Thursday’s post), it is the “consensus” that Pip is a girl but it is not verified. A Times‘ commenter wrote that boy hawks are usually smaller than girl hawks and she thought, based on the young hawk’s size, that Pip is a boy. This sounds plausible. Thus far, I’ve noticed a lot of things expressed about the hawks as fact end up being entirely wrong or else these downtown hawks are going against the ‘norm.’ (Which would also make sense, right?)

Earlier this summer, Pip had been taking advantage of the area that’s fenced off and under construction (Southwestern end of the park). Since that section (Phase II-B) is not scheduled to be completed any day soon (more on that later), somebody should be enjoying it! Of course, then there’s still Phase III construction to come — for which bids to complete the work are allegedly due August 17th.

Pip will have access to the soon to be recreated Mounds (moved from Phase II to Phase III) before anyone else! This final phase of Washington Square Park construction probably won’t start until next year, I’d imagine, but we’ll see.

Photo: Redtail 10025

Previously on WSP Blog: Violet, Bobby and Pip

Squirrel Meet Hawk

Violet or Bobby? Probably Not Pip

Bird's Eye View?

That’s a squirrel box in the Park (erected by the Parks Department) and, yes, there’s a squirrel in there! Who, apparently, survived — at least, that day.

Last week, I posted commenter Drew’s thoughts as to how to help the Washington Square Park squirrels. He wrote:

I entered WSP again today shortly after 2pm and immediately came upon one of the hawks, just west of the arch. The hawk was sitting directly on top of one of the squirrel houses. Just inside the squirrel house was one terrified occupant. The hawk sat there for quite some time, at least 20 minutes, before finally flying off.

It seems like the squirrels are easy pickings for the hawks. Perhaps the Parks Department might consider a modification of the squirrel houses (to make the tops less like attractive as a perch) and/or a relocation of some of the houses.

The hawks are a sight to behold – but it would be a shame to lose the playful squirrels that have been a fixture of the park for, well, ever.

The hawks are going to eat squirrels or rats or pigeons but we don’t have to make it quite so easy! It seems like modifying the top of the boxes would be the easier thing to do and contemplating better locations.

Roger_Paw Blog has been documenting newest Red-tailed Hawk Pip’s exploration of Washington Square Park with some amazing footage. Pip is still being assisted with food from parents Bobby and Violet and Bobby is still looking out for her around the Park.

One of the hawk blogs said, within a few days of fledging (leaving the nest), Pip would be on her own and she might not make it if she didn’t figure how to survive quickly. But, like a lot I’ve read about the hawks that seems to be stated as fact and then seems to be a bit off, she is still acting like a young bird who needs her parents.

Pip isn’t quite in killing mode yet it seems. Here is footage of Pip taunting and being taunted by the squirrels. If this was Bobby or Violet tho’, this would not be the case!

More on Violet, Bobby and Pip on WSP Blog.

Previous WSP Blog Post: With 3 Hawks in the hood, Can we give the Washington Square Park squirrels a little assistance?

Photo: Drew O.

A reader’s query: With 3 Hawks in the Hood, Can We give the Washington Square Park Squirrels a Little Assistance?


hawk, squirrel & tree-Wash Sq Pk

Commenter Drewo wrote in the other day with concern about the beloved Washington Square Park squirrels and their fate with the arrival of red-tailed hawks Violet, Bobby, and now Pip.

From Drewo:

I found your WSP blog on the internet. As a long-time visitor to the park, I am concerned the squirrel population will be annihilated by the hawks that now reside around the park. Much attention has been paid by the media (particularly the NY Times) to the nesting hawks – I guess the fate of the squirrels does not require as much attention.

I was in the park on Wednesday (7/6) and found a hawk perched directly atop a squirrel house – with one terrorized squirrel crouching inside the house. The hawk was just waiting for it’s food. No hunting required – easy pickings in a squirrel house.

I took pictures and posted this note to the latest NY Times City Room article about the NYU hawks:

I may have partially answered my own question (#6). I entered WSP again today shortly after 2pm and immediately came upon one of the hawks, just west of the arch. The hawk was sitting directly on top of one of the squirrel houses. Just inside the squirrel house was one terrified occupant. The hawk sat there for quite some time, at least 20 minutes, before finally flying off.

It seems like the squirrels are easy pickings for the hawks. Perhaps the Parks Department might consider a modification of the squirrel houses (to make the tops less like attractive as a perch) and/or a relocation of some of the houses.

The hawks are a sight to behold – but it would be a shame to lose the playful squirrels that have been a fixture of the park for, well, ever.

I responded:

I did see your comment (at the Times) and I thought it was really on target. It’s a really good idea. Love the squirrels at Washington Square and I know they have many fans. I’ll definitely run a post with your comment in it on Monday Tuesday.

Maybe we could start a campaign? Ask the Parks Department? Perhaps the NY Times would run something. The hawks have to eat something so it’s going to be a squirrel or a pigeon or a rat but I suppose we don’t have to make it so easy for them. Poor little squirrel you witnessed!

I don’t know how easy it is to move a squirrel box or modify or get them to use another one… That would be interesting to know.

Cathryn.
WSP Blog

What do you think?

Note: this photo an encounter of a hawk and squirrel at the Park was from a few years ago (pre-Violet, Bobby and Pip).

Neighborhood’s Newest Red-Tailed Hawk Pip Leaves the Nest! Meanwhile…

Pip on Scaffolding at Building Along Washington Square East

Newest neighborhood red-tailed hawk, Pip, fledged (left the nest) last week! I’m a bit behind reporting on the news but it happened on Thursday, June 23rd. According to the hawk blogs, he has not yet made his way into the park itself. He is mostly perching on buildings along the perimeter. Parents Violet and Bobby are still watching out for him, I’m happy to report. (Some of the blogs made it sound like he’d be on his own within days!)

Previous WSP Blog coverage of Violet, Bobby and Pip here.

Meanwhile, why are some wildlife appreciated and others used as scapegoats by city and federal agencies?

Photo: Roger Paw