Library of Congress Hawk Finally Captured

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A female hawk, trapped for almost a week in dome of the reading room of the Library of Congress, is rescued. (Published Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011)

    The elusive "LOC Nest Monster" has met her match.

    The hawk that has been avoiding capture inside the Library of Congress was finally corralled at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday by bird experts.

    A team of three rescuers -- Kennon Smith, a federally licensed raptor bander who volunteers with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Linda Moore, Vice President of the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia; and Craig Koppie, an eagle/raptor biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -- used two European starlings to bait and trap the hawk.

    The Library of Congress blog gives a blow-by-blow description of the hunt and catch:

    The team put a pair of starlings – Frick and Frack, according to their owner – in a trap on a ledge inside the dome and waited, hidden beneath a tarp.

    The starlings saw the hawk poised nearby and froze. But the noise of a truck passing by the Jefferson Building startled the pair and caused them to move.

    The motion drew the attention of the hawk: She immediately flew onto the trap, where its talons entangled in the nylon nooses attached to the top of the wire cage.

    The team grabbed the hawk, weighed and banded the bird, then placed it in a covered cardboard carrying box.

    The hawk was taken to the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia for some rehabilitation.  According to the blog, the bird was "somewhat dehydrated and had lost weight" during its time at the LOC. It weighed between 80 and 220 grams less than a normal 8- or 9-month-old hawk.

    The hawk, given the swell nickname by one of our readers, made itself at home inside the Library of Congress' Main Reading Room for about a week.

    Over the weekend the hawk was able to outsmart her captors, who had set a trap. She swooped in and took just enough of the bait late Sunday afternoon and was able to avoid capture.

    Because of the snack, the hawk didn't need to eat again until Tuesday.

    Stay with NBCWashington.com for more information.