My friend Shyloh sent me a photo ("click" to enlarge) today that reminded me of a post I was meaning to get to (too many to get to and not enough time). Check out the Cooper's Hawk sitting on its nest…it is in juvenile plumage, which means it was born last year. Many (but not all) raptors are sexually mature at this age and breed successfully. The first time I noticed something like this was about 22 years ago when surveying Bald Eagle pairs on the East Coast…although, I'm sure it had been documented before that. I witnessed a few eagle pairs where one of the pair was not quite in full adult plumage, having a dark tail tip and some dark on the head. Each time this occurred, it was the female that was the "non-adult." And this makes perfect sense since it is the female that chooses the mate. And would a female choose a young male or an adult male? It's a no-brainer, an adult is going to be chosen every time. In fact, I haven't seen a breeding pair of raptors where the male was in juvenile plumage, but if anyone knows of this occurring, let me know, because its bound to happen. It has been reported that immature male Harriers have helped adult males tend to a female with nestlings, but I can't verify that at the moment (not sure where it was cited).