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Monday, January 31, 2011

I Thought Hawks Were in the Pentagon?

Cooper's Hawk Safely Captured in Library of Congress

After spending a week trapped in the Library of Congress, a female Cooper's hawk was safely captured Wednesday, Jan. 26, and taken to a rehabilitation center in Virginia. The hawk, nicknamed “Jefferson,” eluded rescuers as it swooped overhead in the dome of the Thomas Jefferson Building's Main Reading Room. The hawk may have flown in through a broken window.

At 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, a three-member team consisting of eagle/raptor biologist Craig Koppie, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chesapeake Bay Field Office; Linda Moore, vice president of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia; and Kennon Smith, a federally licensed raptor bander, captured the bird using a caged pair of starlings, named Frick and Frack, as bait. It took 28 minutes.

"Cooper's hawks feed mostly on other birds. High concentration areas for the non-native pigeons and starlings common throughout Washington DC are very attractive to these hawks specially during winter, when food resources are more scarce." said Craig Koppie.

Weighing in at 424 grams, the hawk was considered emaciated and was taken to the conservancy in Falls Church, Va. Cooper's hawks captured, weighed and banded at the Blue Ridge Raptor Banding Station, Jefferson County, WV, during the fall migration period, showed the average weight for a first year female Cooper's hawk is 528 grams. The Library’s Cooper's hawk had a weight of 424 grams which was approximately 90-100 grams below average weight. After it is restored to health, the hawk will be released into the wild, far from the Library of Congress.

"These birds can adapt very well to urban conditions as demonstrated by this situation. I think it is a great opportunity for all of us to learn more about this and other migratory bird species" said Leopoldo Miranda, Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chesapeake Bay Field Office

For more information on Cooper's hawks, visit:

The Raptor Conservancy of Virginia