Special Agent Down

When two separate events occur simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry, we must always pay strict attention.

Special Agent Dale Cooper

Doc, when the will is invoked, the recuperative powers of the physical body are simply extraordinary.

Also Special Agent Dale Cooper

Yesterday, an observant kayaker found a Peregrine Falcon floating helplessly in Barnegat Bay and he skillfully returned it to shore. Thankfully, Ben was able to get over there quickly and retrieve him. The Peregrine was alive and appeared healthy given the circumstances, albeit a little soaked and confused.

It turns out we know this bird.

BE/96. It’s Special Agent Dale Cooper.

If you don’t recognize or remember Li’l Coop, here are some fast facts:

It’s that last point which probably gives us the best clue as to how Special Agent Dale Cooper wound up floating helplessly in the Bay. It’s the nesting season and Peregrine hormones are running hotter than a high school on prom night. Established pairs are in full courtship right now. Eggs are imminent if not already being laid. Curious young Peregrines like Coop are more curious, social, and aggressive at exactly the same time nesting Peregrines are the most ready to defend their precious nesting spots.

Case in point: Coop’s own father, “BridgeBoy” of the BOIS Tower, was killed almost two years ago to the day when a similarly curious young falcon (“Kids On Grass / GrassBoy”) showed up at the BOIS Tower and, amazingly, won the fight.

It doesn’t appear Coop was as lucky as GrassBoy, but thankfully he also wasn’t as unlucky as BridgeBoy.

Thanks to Ben’s and the kayaker’s quick action (and while we’re at it, how do you rescue a flailing, wild falcon from the water and then somehow get it together enough to restrain the bird AND paddle back to shore???) , hope is high he’ll make a speedy recovery. After a quiet sleepover at Ben’s house last night, Special Agent Cooper is off to rehab. That will most likely take him out the nesting game for 2023, but maybe that’s a good thing. (It’s also a reminder of why you should donate something every year to Ben & The NJ Osprey Project. Not only does he need a freezer full of menhaden for the Osprey, but he needs to have some quail on hand too for these unexpected, emergency slumber parties!)

So, who might have given Coop such a thorough beating that he wound up floating helplessly around Barnegat Bay?

While we will never know for sure, I did quickly check on the Bonnet Island nest right after to make sure everything was calm there.

Look what I found:

That’s Kids On Grass, throughly soaked and exhausted, resting on the BOIS tower just after Ben drove away with Special Agent Dale Cooper. His shoulders held out to dry underneath suggests he took quite a dunk yesterday afternoon.

Could Special Agent Dale Cooper have stopped by his childhood home at the worst possible time to visit his mom, Jo Durt, and his stepdad, Kids on Grass? The same stepdad who actually murdered Coop’s father in an eerily similar springtime visit almost two years ago to the day? You don’t see a lot of thoroughly waterlogged Peregrines.

No matter what the real story is, the coincidence is quite astonishing, either way. (“Fellas, coincidence and fate figure largely in our lives.” ~ Special Agent Dale Cooper, Twin Peaks)

We’ll never know for sure, but as Special Agent Dale Cooper once famously said in Twin Peaks:

When two separate events occur simultaneously pertaining to the same object of inquiry, we must always pay strict attention.

Special Agent Dale Cooper

But then again, Special Agent Dale Cooper also said:

Fifty-four degrees on a slightly overcast day. Weatherman said rain. If you could get paid that kind of money for being wrong sixty percent of the time, it’d beat working.

Also Special Agent Dale Cooper

We’ll just have to see what happens. Thank you alert kayaker, thanks Ben, thanks Toms River Avian Care. And here’s wishing you a speedy recovery, our special little agent, Coop.

Baby Coop, 2020
Baby Kids On Grass, 2018

They’re always so sweet until the hormones kick in.


  1. I have followed you for a long time and your pictures are special. But my favorite has always been baby kids on grass. Cheers to your dedication to the wildlife of your area and to a great season 🍻


    1. Thanks. Some day I really need to go back to the archive from that shoot. There were so many magical photos, but I just latched onto that one. It’s a treasure for sure.


  2. When is the Netflix series going to be made? This family history has more twists and turns than a plate of spaghetti! What are Coop’s injuries? Wishing him a speedy rehab and sending big thanks to the bird heroes!


  3. Thank goodness you two are on the job! Bravo! And I second your suggestion to help Ben and the Osprey Project out at Conserve Wildlife NJ!


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