Monday, February 18, 2013

Coop Copped in Coop (Again)

This Cooper's Hawk (Accipiter cooperii) was caught by my daughter Aurora yesterday in our pigeon coop. Though Aurora was at the time only ten minutes out of bed, she astutely noticed that the hawk was already banded. And therein lies a tale. This same hawk was captured in our pigeon coop on March 15, 2008. At that time, I wrote a post about her called "Coop Recap," for she was already wearing a band. She first crossed our path (she first crossed the threshhold of our pigeon coop) on March 1, 2004, when--as yet unbanded--she wore the plumage of a young bird (she had hatched in 2003).

Recognizing that she is now nearly 10 years old, Aurora wondered what the known longevity of this species was. She consulted the Birds of North America species account, and found that the oldest wild Cooper's Hawk--attested to by band recoveries--was (at the time of the writing of that account) 12 years of age. But then I went on line and accessed the Bird Banding Lab's updated longevity records. I found that a Cooper's Hawk banded in California was found (recently dead) when 20 years and 4 months old!

Of course, we're all hoping that this big female will pay us at least one more visit, some 11 years from now...

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