Friday, February 12, 2010

Fast as Lightning

OK.  A lot happened in my little bird world this week. Today was the first day of the Southeastern Wildlife EXPO here in charleston.  It was a nice, slow first day. I had interesting conversations with several nice folks on topics ranging from litter, to murder suspects from the genus Bubo, to our friends Bombycilla cedorum. More on that later in the EXPO report (available in late spring 2016).

photo from 
Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii originally from the Latin accipere "to understand" or "to grasp" and William Cooper (1798-1864) zoologist, collector, conchologist, and author) have been on my mind a lot for some reason the last week or so.  Some of you chuckle. These are some of the coolest, most often seen raptors.  Like a flash.  Short wings, long tail, bursts of power, unmatched agility, bird killing toes (see above photo).  We had a rogue coop around the Center last week with a penchant for kestrels.  He attempted to eat them all.  We found evidence that he killed a wild eastern screech owl (Megascops asio   the big little eared owl owl) as well. New word for the day: Raptivore.

We tried to catch him with a Bal Chatri (wire box covered in monofilament nooses containing bait.) He flew inches over the nooses directly to the kestrel in the enclosure.  This happened more than once.  I was less that 10 feet away from him more than once. On Monday, Audrey caught the bird bare handed.  She's fast as lightning.  He was hungry, sure, but I did say bare handed.  OK, she had her falconer's glove on, but she used here right hand to catch him.

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