The sky was beautiful this morning. No rain, a little wind and some poofy white clouds. What a change. Okay, so this is the day we are going to get our bird! I had to watch from afar, while the Telemetry Team waited at Bldg 1064. The banders were out in the blinds doing their thing, and we all just waited. Late morning, and we heard from Brian Smucker, both a bander and a telemetrist, that they had caught an adult Cooper's Hawk. Our study was for juvenile Cooper's Hawks, but it was so tempting to go with the adult. However, an important part of the study was not just whether we could track with a smaller transmitter, but it was also to compare the behavior of the prior 15 juvenile Cooper's Hawks to the new bird we were waiting for. With much anxiety, it was decided to wait for a juvenile. The weather was beautiful, and surely there were hungry juvenile coops out there. Right??
And then the call came! The banders have a juvenile Cooper's Hawk for us. Thank Goodness. Doubt had been festering in my mind. Did we do the right thing, by not taking the adult? Would the adult be the only bird the banders would see today? No, surely the sky would be full of accipiters on such a beautiful day...... especially after the heavy rains for the past days. How am I going to confidently justify passing over the adult? And a loop of "A Bird in Hand is Worth Two in the Bush", kept playing over and over in my internal voice.
I will have more details later this evening, but for now I know the bird has been named "Paula", and she settled down on the south edge of the Headlands, overlooking the Golden Gate, between Kirby Cove and Pt. Bonita. The San Francisco team (Libby and Michelle) and the FM Tower team (Phil, solo) both had the signal from time to time, while team #2 (Theresa and Nick) stayed with the bird.
Today, was a Great Day!