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star of NYC hawk cam, dies after surgery

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POSTED December 31, 2011 1:39 a.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — A red-tailed hawk that became an avian sensation when a webcam followed her nesting and rearing a chick on a high-rise ledge died after surgery to amputate her badly injured foot, a wildlife rehabilitation group said.


Violet, the female in a pair of hawks that roosted outside the New York University president's office this year, abruptly had a heart attack Thursday after seeming to emerge in good shape from the procedure, Wildlife In Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation announced on its Facebook page. A veterinarian tried to revive her for 20 minutes, to no avail.


"She was warm, peaceful and had a full belly and pain medication," said the organization, based in North Massapequa, N.Y.  "We just couldn't get her in time."


Violet, believed to be about 5 years old, and mate Bobby built a nest last winter outside NYU President John Sexton's office on the 12th floor of a building overlooking Washington Square Park.


The New York Times trained a webcam on the nest in April, and the live feed drew more than 1 million online viewers during its 2 ½ months. They looked on as Violet tended to three eggs and cheered when a lone chick, soon named Pip, hatched on Mother's Day.

But Violet was seen hobbling around the nest shortly afterward, and it became clear in the ensuing months that her right leg was severely injured. It may have become entangled in a fishing line, with a metal wildlife band apparently aggravating the problem, according to the Times, which first reported ( ) Violet's death Thursday night.

By late November, video showed the leg dangling uselessly, with the foot gray and scaly from lack of blood flow.

Robert and Cathy Horvath, the raptor rehabilitators who run Wildlife in Need of Rescue and Rehabilitation, captured Violet in the park Saturday to take her for treatment. They hope to put a plaque honoring her on the tree there.

Meanwhile, Bobby and another female have been spotted in the nest recently, the Times said. Pip also survives.

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