Violet, the red-tailed hawk whose intimate family life in a nest overlooking Washington Square Park was chronicled on a live-streaming webcam, delighting more than a million viewers with the sacred spectacle of nature, died on Thursday. She was believed to be about 5 years old.
Violet had “heart-related complications” following surgery to amputate her necrotic foot, said Robert Horvath, a raptor rehabilitator based on Long Island. He said he was awaiting necropsy results.
The hawk had been suffering from chronic leg injuries for several weeks and was taken to North Massapequa, N.Y., for treatment on Saturday.
Last winter, Violet and her mate, Bobby, caught the attention of faculty and staff members at New York University, where the couple had created a nest on the 12th floor of Bobst Library, outside of the university’s president’s office.
The university allowed The New York Times to set up a live-streaming camera on the nest, and for two and a half months beginning in April, viewers of what came to be known as the Hawk Cam were mesmerized by a soap opera starring two urban hawks trying to raise a family in the middle of Manhattan.
“To be two feet away and look at their talons, and their eyes, and their beaks, and their beautiful feathers, it puts you in touch with the transcendent,” the university’s president, John Sexton, said the day the camera began broadcasting.
The birth of their offspring, whom viewers would later name Pip, was overshadowed by Violet’s declining health. The night Pip hatched, viewers noticed that Violet’s leg had become severely swollen after getting entangled in what appeared to be a fishing line.
A metal wildlife band that had been placed on her leg in 2006 and was wedged awkwardly on her shin appeared to exacerbate the situation. Wildlife experts and veterinarians were summoned by the university and the state to determine if it was possible to lure her away from the nest and treat her leg, but in the end, they determined it was too risky to intervene. They decided to let nature take its course.
But it wasn’t long before Violet’s leg problems worsened. In November, bloggers following the story recorded video of her right leg dangling uselessly behind her as she picked apart prey grasped in her left talon.
Mr. Horvath and his wife, Cathy, captured Violet in the park on Saturday and took her to their home for treatment. He said she underwent surgery to amputate her right foot on Thursday, but did not survive.
“She came through the surgery very well. She woke up and was sitting up fluffing her feathers,” Mr. Horvath wrote on the Facebook page for Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation, the nonprofit organization that the Horvaths run. “All of a sudden she had a heart attack. The vet did CPR on her for 20 minutes to no avail. X-rays showed that at some point after her right foot had deteriorated, her left femur was broken.”
Violet is survived by Pip and Bobby. Hawks move on quickly, and Bobby appears to have a new female companion. The two have been spotted in the nest of the 12th-floor ledge where Violet once lived.