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NEW YORK – Pale Male, a red-tailed hawk who began nesting high above Fifth Avenue in New York City three decades ago, has died. He was believed to be 32 or 33.

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The bird’s death was announced by wildlife rehabilitator Bobby Horvath in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

“I’m sorry to have to report the end of an era,” Horvath wrote on the social media site. “Pale Male passed away tonight in our care.”

The bird was featured in hundreds of newspaper articles and was the subject of at least three books and an award-winning documentary film, according to The New York Times. The bird also counted Mary Tyler Moore among his fans.

Pale Male got his name because of his white plumage. He was first spotted in Central Park as a juvenile in 1991 and began nesting on Fifth Avenue across from the park two years later, The Associated Press reported. The name was given to him by birder Marie Winn, a longtime columnist for The Wall Street Journal who wrote a 1998 book about him, “Red-Tails in Love.”

According to the Times, there was some question about whether the bird that died this week was the original red-tailed hawk.

On Monday afternoon, a park ranger found a sick red-tailed hawk on the ground in Central Park near East 79th Street and Fifth Avenue, according to the newspaper. Horvath was contacted and went to examine the predatory bird.

“I picked him up and I called my vet’s office immediately,” Horvath told the Times. “They did blood work on him. They took X-rays just to rule out if there’s any orthopedic injuries, if there’s any fractures.”

Horvath gave Pale Male some food and fluids, but the bird did not make it through the night.

“Pale Male was the inspiration for thousands not only in New York City but worldwide to begin birding or photography,” Horvath wrote on Facebook. “Some were just amateur, others became professional photographers.

Birders were angered in 2004 when Pale Male’s nest was removed from the ledge of a 12-story apartment building, the AP reported.

The birders were outraged when Pale Male’s nest with then-mate Lola was ripped from its ledge on the 12th floor of a ritzy apartment building whose residents included actor Mary Tyler Moore and CNN anchor Paula Zahn.

Moore publicly opposed the nest removal. The building’s co-op board reversed its decision and restored a row of anti-pigeon spikes that Red Male and his then mate, Lola, used to anchor their next, according to the news organization.

Pale Male was the subject of a 2009 documentary, “The Legend of Pale Male,” and at least three illustrated children’s books.

Because red-tailed hawks normally have an average life span of about 20 years, there was a question about whether the bird living above Fifth Avenue recently was Pale Male.

“He does look similar, but he doesn’t look the same,” Gabriel Willow, a freelance naturalist, told the Times. But, “he was so closely watched.

“I guess I don’t know what to think.”