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It's probably doing some research on Natty Bumppo
January 21, 2011 10:38 AM   Subscribe

Since at least Wednesday, there's been a Cooper's Hawk in the Main Reading Room at the Library of Congress. It has has adopted the ornate 160ft high dome as its aerie.

LoC spokespersons say that they occasionally have pigeons and smaller birds getting in through broken windows or other gaps up there, but this is the first report of a raptor.

The Library's blog contains some photos of the bird with the dome paintings and other ornamentation as backdrop.

They've already crowd-sourced identification of the raptor's species. You can offer your suggestions and track the LoC's progress in getting the bird safely out of there on the the twitter and the facebook if you're into those sort of things.

So far the bibliophilic hawk hasn't stooped so low as to attack the patrons.
posted by Herodios (48 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love that something on a .gov is so funny and so human.
posted by ColdChef at 10:41 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


How do you know it’s a Cooper’s Hawk?

We don’t know for sure. But a Library staffer who by avocation is a birder checked an app she keeps on her iPhone and determined that to be the likely breed.


OMG reference librarian fail.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:43 AM on January 21, 2011 [25 favorites]


On the one hand, that's awesome. On the more important hand, I hope that the bird is able to leave the building safely and soon.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:43 AM on January 21, 2011


The Prophecy!
posted by boo_radley at 10:45 AM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


from the pic caption in the first link:

I always feel like ... some birdie's watching meeee!

I know its just a blog, and its meant to be cute, but really, a Rockwell reference on the library of congress web site?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:46 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, people in the government have a sense of humor. Excellent.
posted by Melismata at 10:47 AM on January 21, 2011


I love birds indoors where they shouldn't be. My favorite instances are the sparrows at the home improvement stores, cleaning up the spilled bird feed. I slightly dislike it when they are in the grocery store, as they were last week.
posted by msbutah at 10:48 AM on January 21, 2011


I'm so sorry that my dad isn't currently doing research at the LoC because this would make his life. He's probably as big a fan of hawks as he is the historical catalogues of rare coins he would be reading in the reading room. I'm going to make sure he sees this!
posted by Tesseractive at 10:52 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


but really, a Rockwell Skynyrd reference on the library of congress web site?

Just wait until librarians and patrons start holding their lighters aloft.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:52 AM on January 21, 2011


That first photo is completely awesome. (The second photo makes me wonder where/whether the artist studied female anatomy.) I hope this story has a happy ending; the Twitter says there's a rescue and release operation underway.
posted by Gator at 10:54 AM on January 21, 2011


I love birds indoors where they shouldn't be.

I hate seeing birds trapped indoors. I always worry they will starve, or fly into a wall or something.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:55 AM on January 21, 2011


Quoth the Raven, "Holy fuck, that thing's trying to kill me."
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:57 AM on January 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


And I was all proud of waking up to find one on the balcony outside my window the other day. Also on the balcony - a dead rat. Eventually, after much swooping in, shuffling back and forth on the railing suspiciously and swooping off again, the hawk picked up the rat and flew off with it. Which is good, as i did not really want that rat.

Have they checked the place for dead rats?
posted by Artw at 10:58 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I bet he's getting hungry.
posted by kingbenny at 11:01 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


We had a Swainson's hawk visit us for lunch (a fine repast of Grackle brains - he pulled it out through an eye socket) a little while back. Very handsome creature.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:01 AM on January 21, 2011


I know its just a blog, and its meant to be cute, but really, a Rockwell reference on the library of congress web site?

Relax.
This blog does not represent official Library of Congress communications.
posted by zamboni at 11:02 AM on January 21, 2011


It won't attack the patrons until it builds a nest. It will eliminate any pigeon problem, however.
posted by Jode at 11:02 AM on January 21, 2011


Obviously, this is a deficit hawk.
posted by QIbHom at 11:04 AM on January 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Improv Everywhere should show up there dressed as rabbits.
posted by orme at 11:06 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


OMG reference librarian fail.

You have to understand, the rapter came in from outside the Library of Congress system, so it probably has a Dewey Decimal number instead.
posted by dhartung at 11:06 AM on January 21, 2011 [11 favorites]


What on earth is it eating? Do they have mice, too?

I am glad they know a hawk from a hand saw at the LOC.
posted by bearwife at 11:07 AM on January 21, 2011


The LOC Twitter stream (also included on the left side of the linked page) says (as of a couple hours ago) the capture and release effort is underway.
posted by aught at 11:12 AM on January 21, 2011


Is it wrong for me to hope that the rescue and release operation goes off just like the New York Public Library scene from Ghostbusters?
posted by MrVisible at 11:22 AM on January 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Actually, I hope it turns out to be the Bad Falcon from Oglaf (that page is SFW, but most of the rest of the site is not).
posted by Gator at 11:27 AM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


I wonder if the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service can go clear out the rest of the hawks inside on Capitol Hill and return them to their natural habits, too, after they get done with LOC's raptor.
posted by QIbHom at 11:32 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


To be fair to the birder librarian, Coops and Sharpies can be difficult for even expert birders to ID correctly.

This photo is definitely Coop-ish, and it's a juvenile.
posted by rtha at 11:40 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have to say that I find this incredibly amusing, but I do hope they are able to safely free the bird. As far as animals being trapped in the library, I've only heard of squirrels in the past.
posted by graxe at 11:49 AM on January 21, 2011


I just went and saw it! There is certainly no obvious capture effort going on right now, just a few librarians watching the little guy fly around. Cool!
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:50 AM on January 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


To be fair to the birder librarian, Coops and Sharpies can be difficult for even expert birders to ID correctly.

FWIW Sharp Shin Hawk was the other candidate for what the thing out the back of my house might have been.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on January 21, 2011


I have spent the last three months trying to figure out whether the hawk that flies by my office window is a Cooper's or a sharp-shinned. I guess I should get an iPhone? Or stop scribbling terrible hawk-silhouettes on whatever paper is at hand and resume doing my work.
posted by little cow make small moo at 11:53 AM on January 21, 2011


So far the bibliophilic hawk hasn't stooped so low as to attack the patrons.

I see what you did there.
posted by cereselle at 11:56 AM on January 21, 2011


I hate seeing birds trapped indoors. I always worry they will starve, or fly into a wall or something.

Once I found a sparrow or something in the rug section of Home Depot. It sort of toppled off of a rolled-up rug and then started following me around and pecking at my shoelaces. I figured I would do the responsible thing and usher it back outside to nature, where there were things to eat other than shoelaces, but it was too addled to follow me all the way outside. Eventually I gave up and tapped it on the head a few times, decided it was harmless, and picked it up.

As soon as I tried to set it down in a tree outside, it plummeted to the ground like a wee rock, righted itself, and began trying to eat my shoelaces again. So I took it back in.

Partner: You can't bring a bird into Home Depot!
Me: But I found it in Home Depot.
Partner: Well, you can't bring it back!

I put it in my pocket and we finished shopping. Then we left it in a box in the car while we did other shopping, and finally took it home and released it in the backyard, where we had just recently spotted a juvenile coyote.

You're welcome, little bird!
posted by little cow make small moo at 12:04 PM on January 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


This bit, "It is possible that the bird is an endangered species.", is also a total librarian fail. They do know there's a list that like lists all the endangered species? Even differentiating among states?
posted by hydrobatidae at 12:06 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think it's on Wikipedia.
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nobody seems to have linked to the follow-up post today on the LoC blog. MrMoonPie is right that there's no obvious capture efforts going on now... down at ground level.
A woman from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia has been up in the dome all day with baited cages, patiently waiting. One commenter yesterday noted that Cooper’s Hawks don’t go for mice or, in his words, “Cooper’s hawks eat feathers, not fur.” At the risk of spoiling your dinner, I’ll just say that I heard the bait that is being used is consistent with that information.
posted by phearlez at 2:37 PM on January 21, 2011


but really, a Rockwell reference on the library of congress web site?

OMG here's another one!!!!
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:52 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


While this thread waits for results of the trapping, any birders want to try to identify this bird [there's a 5mpix version for a little more detail] which I think is a hawk, that I saw in Alviso, CA on a levee out in the SF Bay salt ponds. The Flickr photo is geocoded.

When I rode by, it was kind of tucking its head under a wing & looked really cold. What would a hawk be doing out in shorebird territory?
posted by morganw at 3:03 PM on January 21, 2011


I live a block from the LoC Jefferson Building, and there was a hawk outside across the alley from me a couple of weeks ago. It was gorgeous and stayed in the tree for quite a while. I wonder if it's the same one?
posted by jgirl at 3:15 PM on January 21, 2011


When I rode by, it was kind of tucking its head under a wing & looked really cold. What would a hawk be doing out in shorebird territory?

Hunting shorebirds! Also ground squirrels, rats, etc.

Looks like a juvenile redtail to me. The very white chest and the belly band are giveaways.
posted by rtha at 3:22 PM on January 21, 2011


Hit post too soon: we go to Coyote Hills pretty often, because the raptors there are awesome. There's at least one peregrine pair that lives and hunts up at Bolinas Lagoon - it's a thrill to see a zillion peeps and curlews and such explode into action when a peregrine comes bulleting through. We see a lot of raptors at Bayshore park, too (lots of harriers, especially - saw one catch a small duck once). Hawks are quite adaptable and have a wide range of diets and habitat.
posted by rtha at 3:26 PM on January 21, 2011


We've got a lot of hawks in the DC area, jgirl. One of my flickr contacts regularly has pictures of them. Given the location one of his shots could be of the one in the LoC.
posted by phearlez at 3:35 PM on January 21, 2011


That's what I get for working from home and missing out on the excitement at work. He has my vote for official LoC mascot
posted by adamsc at 6:49 PM on January 21, 2011


As I mentioned in the last raptor thread, I saw a very nice Red-tail Hawk right outside of Union Station when I was in DC last week. I see hawks from Capitol Hill most times I'm doing Hill visits. Plenty of pigeons...

If I had known about the Coop, I would have stopped in at the LOC!
posted by gingerbeer at 10:28 PM on January 21, 2011


And no, Coops are not endangered, but they are protected, as migratory birds.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:31 PM on January 21, 2011


I should walk over and see her.
posted by jgirl at 9:16 AM on January 22, 2011


How do you know it’s a Cooper’s Hawk?

We don’t know for sure. But a Library staffer who by avocation is a birder checked an app she keeps on her iPhone and determined that to be the likely breed.

OMG reference librarian fail.


A good librarian uses whatever tools are at her disposal and is never overconfident about the information she provides. Nah nah nah.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:57 PM on January 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Library of Congress hawk captured.
"Updated, 10:12 a.m. Jefferson the hawk was safely captured at around 8:30 a.m. this morning by experts from the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Service. They laid a trap with two starling birds inside to bait the hungry hawk, which hadn't eaten since the frozen quail bait on Sunday. Jefferson swooped down to eat the starlings, and her talons quickly caught on to the trap's hooks. It took only 25 minutes for her to be captured.

Jefferson was then put into a box with breathing holes for safe transport to raptor rehab at the Raptor Conservancy. The bird experts estimated that Jefferson is now the size of a male hawk--females are usually larger than males--so it was likely she had lost weight and is emaciated. They transported her out of the library quickly to get her to food and drink.

Library security guards, police, research librarians, and architects cheered the hawk's capture, and then mourned her departure after a week spent with her in the Main Reading Room."
Picture at the link and video coming soon.
posted by cashman at 9:15 AM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


[...] captured the bird using a caged pair of starlings, named Frick and Frack, as bait.

And they appear to have come out of this unhurt. Thanks, Frick and Frack, for looking so delicious.
posted by pracowity at 7:24 AM on January 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


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