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Posted at 11:15 AM ET, 01/25/2011

Hawk still stalks Library of Congress

By Elizabeth Flock
(Courtesy Abby Brack/Library of Congress)

UPDATE, Jan. 25, 11:15 a.m.

Shirley you can't be serious? The hawk (Shirley? Jefferson?) has STILL not been caught.

In addition to all the State of the Union madness in this town today, the Library of Congress has events booked involving the first lady and a few Cabinet secretaries, so they are halting  capture attempts for today. (Don't worry, they've kept the bait out so the bird doesn't starve).

Capture attempts will resume tomorrow at 7 a.m. Both the Raptor Conservancy of Virginia and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are optimistic that by early tomorrow, the bird will be ready to eat.  Translation: She'll be ready, at last, for capture. We'll be there with a camera crew, so come back to watch Shirley-Jefferson fly free.

UPDATE: Jan. 24, 2:30 p.m.

The Humane Society and a team of falconers from Charlottesville, VA, are assisting in the bird's capture.

UPDATE: Jan. 24, 12:45 p.m.

The American Eagle Foundation voiced concerns Monday that the hawk would soon die if it had not been fed over the past five days. Al Cecere, founder and president of the foundation, says the bird is not likely to have been well fed before entering the library because of the cold and snowy weather.

But good news! The rescue team late last night found a trap (filled with bait) that the bird was attracted to, although the cagey hawk took just enough of the bait and avoided capture. On the Library of Congress blog, Matt Raymond wrote today: "The hawk is now fed and will most likely not be ready to eat again until Tuesday. The team now believes that the hawk has a predilection for frozen quail and not live bait."


ORIGINAL POST: Jan. 24, 10:58 p.m.

The Cooper's hawk that took shelter in the Library of Congress Wednesday night has rebuffed all bird experts' efforts to get it down, a representative of the Library of Congress said today.

Specialists from the Raptor Conservancy of Northern Virginia placed baited cages in the Main Reading Room's dome, where the bird is circling, and strung a net on the bottom of the opening of the dome so the hawk can't swoop down and disturb researchers.

As a secondary measure, they also pulled mesh tightly across the opening to the dome (which they call the “lantern”) so that she cannot descend into the Main Reading Room, and this would also catch her if she were to fall.

Since its arrival, the hawk has so captured the public's attention that the membership office of the library was packed this Saturday.

The Main Reading Room staff has affectionately dubbed the hawk “Shirley,” after the Library of Congress blogger Matt Raymond made an "Airplane" reference to readers who doubted the bird's presence.

Our own contest to name the hawk came up with a plethora of clever monikers for the bird. The winning name so far? "Jefferson," because of Thomas Jefferson's contributions to the library.

@Washingtonpost #namethehawk Thomas Jefferson. Least they could do after paying him far less for his library than it was worthless than a minute ago via txt

A few of our commenters thought the bird's nom de plume should honor other architects of great libraries. Commenter "RobertMuskett" suggested the name "Demetrius Phalereus," because he was the "true founder of the Great Library in Ancient Alexandria."

Commenter "janmckelvey" suggested the name "Casey," after Thomas Lincoln Casey and his son Edward Pierce Casey, "who were the engineering/architect/interior design team responsible for completing the wonderful Thomas Jefferson Building."

Our commenter "AnneMiles1" suggested "Barry" in honor of the famous political "hawk" Barry Goldwater, and "poppopk" suggested "Deficit Hawk."

Until library officials can have the bird removed, our contest for what to call the hawk is ongoing. Tweet your suggestions to #namethehawk or leave them in the comments field below.

@washingtonpost #namethehawk It's a girl! Call her Jane Air or Scarlet O'Aira!less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

@ma1ja @librarianchat Stephen Hawking! STEPHEN HAWKING!!!! #namethehawkless than a minute ago via web

#namethehawk how about "Freedom"less than a minute ago via web

By Elizabeth Flock  | January 25, 2011; 11:15 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Elizabeth Flock  
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How about "Dewey" after the Dewey Decimal System?

Posted by: swissmiss150 | January 24, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

These are librarians, and they don't mess around. They did their research and found a raptor expert to assist them.

Posted by: tackyjulie | January 24, 2011 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Shoot it.

Posted by: rpcv84 | January 24, 2011 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Maybe she entgered the wrong building while intending to enter the Capitol accross the street. I would dub her "Deficit Hawk."

Posted by: 15of18 | January 24, 2011 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Maybe she entered the wrong building while intending to enter the Capitol across the street. I would dub her "Deficit Hawk."

Posted by: 15of18 | January 24, 2011 7:15 PM | Report abuse

Maybe she entered the wrong building while intending to enter the Capitol across the street. I would dub her "Deficit Hawk."

Posted by: 15of18 | January 24, 2011 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Damn Republican bird you have got all the press that you wanted, now go and get ready for the State of The Union speech tonight.

Posted by: PublicEnemy1 | January 25, 2011 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Recommend calling the the bird The Rights of Man (name of a ship from Mellville's Billy Bud). Will the bird be free to the wild or imprisoned in some zoo or will it continue to be tormented in the warm halls of state without an adequate meal? :0)

Posted by: holminator1 | January 25, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

There is a red tailed hawk who likes to feed in front of the National Museum of the American Indian and roost on the White House South lawn, I wonder if it is the same fellow.... (can't provide pictures and the site won't accept them?)

Posted by: drhogan | January 26, 2011 1:06 AM | Report abuse

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