|photo by Phoebe Thompson|
Even the metatarsal length was perfect. This was a big female Coop. That's a foot-long ruler there. Dorsal view
He's 10" long to the female Cooper's 18 3/8".
Based on what I see on bird ID forums (10 gazillion photos of Cooper's hawks in people's backyards, all of them asking for ID, over and over and over), I have proposed to rename Cooper's hawk "FAQ Hawk." Think it'll take?
And her label. Here comes the synchronicity again. Look who collected it. Well, picked it up dead. My dad, Charles Dale Zickefoose, on December 22, 1983. I was 25 and already well versed in skinning and stuffing bird specimens, thanks to experience both in college and in Amazonian Brazil, where I prepared specimens for a small museum at INPA (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazonas). I remember her crop being dead empty, no fat reserves, nothing left of her breast muscles, either. She'd burned herself up trying to survive. HY means hatch year. I've got total length (TL), wing chord (WC) and other measurements. A pitiful 12 oz-- a well fed female Coop should weigh 16 oz or more.
On the flip side of the tag, badly oiled by age and fat in her skin, is her story. I found that a small twig had pierced her right eye, blinding her. She was probably diving into thorns to get a bird, James Bond style, and that simple accident ended her career.
A friend and mentor of mine, recently departed,
had studied raptors at the Appalachian Environmental Lab at Frostburg State in MD. His name
was Floyd Presley.