photo from http://www.beaconhillparkhistory.orgCooper'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.