“I’m sorry to need to report the tip of an period,” Bobby Horvath, a wildlife rehabilitation specialist, wrote on Fb Tuesday evening. “Pale Male handed away tonight in our care.”

Pale Male, a red-tailed hawk who took up residence on the ledge of a ritzy Manhattan condo constructing 30 years in the past, was the topic of a whole bunch of newspaper articles, not less than three books and an award-winning documentary movie and in addition counted Mary Tyler Moore amongst his followers.

However whether or not the fowl Mr. Horvath declared lifeless was really Pale Male stays a thriller.

Pale Male, an apex predator residing in essentially the most populated metropolis in the USA, was the unique New York Metropolis superstar fowl, predating Barry the barred owl, the “scorching” Mandarin duck and Flaco the eagle-owl.

He was named for his light-colored feathers by birder and creator Marie Winn, a longtime columnist for The Wall Road Journal who adopted his progress in print for over a decade and penned a e-book about him, “Crimson-Tails in Love,” making him one thing of a neighborhood superstar.

However Pale Male stole the nationwide highlight in 2004, when the co-op board of 927 Fifth Avenue, the place he had taken up residence in 1993, determined to evict the hawk and his mate, eradicating the nest the pair had constructed on the facade of the prewar constructing. An uproar ensured. Ms. Moore, who had lived within the constructing since 1989, appeared on nationwide tv, declaring the destruction of the birds’ house “pointless and heartless.”

As one of many first of his sort to nest in New York Metropolis, Pale Male turned an envoy for city wildlife within the days earlier than social media. He attracted a crowd of people with binoculars who would stand on Fifth Avenue and watch as he flew, fed, mated and tended to his chicks.

On Monday afternoon, a park ranger discovered a sick red-tailed hawk on the bottom in Central Park, close to East 79th Road and Fifth Avenue. Mr. Horvath, who focuses on raptor care, was contacted.

“I picked him up and I referred to as my vet’s workplace instantly,” Mr. Horvath stated. “They did blood work on him. They took X-rays simply to rule out if there’s any orthopedic accidents, if there’s any fractures.”

There have been no fractures, and Mr. Horvath took the hawk house and waited for the blood work outcomes. Within the meantime, the fowl was given antibiotics, some meat and fluids. “We acquired a small meal into him really,” Mr. Horvath stated. However the fowl was severely in poor health, and didn’t make it by way of the evening, dying in his sleep.

If the hawk was certainly Pale Male, he had lived to be 32 years outdated.

Nonetheless: A hawk’s common life span is about 20 years. Which suggests both Pale Male was really one extraordinary fowl — or Pale Male wasn’t Pale Male in any respect.

Gabriel Willow, a contract naturalist who leads fowl walks in Central Park every now and then, stated that he was uncertain whether or not Pale Male was the unique or a descendant.

“He does look comparable, however he doesn’t look the identical,” Mr. Willow stated, including that this was regular, since a fowl’s look can change once they molt their feathers.

Then once more, may a Pale Male Jr. all of a sudden present up on the scene with out anybody realizing? “He was so carefully watched,” Mr. Willow stated. “I suppose I don’t know what to suppose.”

Mr. Horvath believes the fowl — whose corpse was in his freezer as he spoke to a reporter — was the unique Pale Male.

“I’ve to go together with, you already know, the hawk individuals who I do know and I depend on,” Mr. Horvath stated. “And I belief them. They usually’re telling me that he’s the unique one.”

He stated that if the fowl was the unique Pale Male, he had “dodged so many bullets,” from ingesting rat poison to merely outlasting the standard life expectancy.

Mr. Willow had doubts whether or not it was the true Pale Male. “It appears unlikely to me that essentially the most well-known red-tailed hawk of all time would even be the longest lived,” he stated.

He stated that if, actually, the not too long ago deceased hawk was really Pale Male, it was like dropping “an august determine.”

“His accomplishments are unparalleled among the many red-tailed hawk group,” Mr. Willow stated. “He established a breeding territory after which a subsequent breeding dynasty.”

He added: “Lots of right now’s red-tailed hawks in New York Metropolis are his direct descendants.”

After which he turned philosophical: “I believe what’s significant about Pale Male is the best way he captured the general public creativeness. And as such, it doesn’t matter if it was Pale Male or not on the finish of the day.”