Our July bird is a bit of a chimera: here’s the description from www.allaboutbirds.org:
“The Crested Caracara looks like a hawk with its sharp beak and talons, behaves like a vulture, and is technically a large tropical black-and-white falcon.” And this interesting tidbit about their behavior: “Because Crested Caracaras cannot open large carcasses on their own they must wait for a vulture or larger animal to open it up. Unlike most raptors that pounce on prey, caracaras generally fly or run on the ground toward their prey until they overtake it.”
This photo was taken of a captive bird at LaPaz Waterfalls Park. I thought the cage wires in the background added to the bird’s dignity – standing tall even in confinement.
Prior to this year I have only seen this bird when we have been on field trips in other, more rural parts of the country. Sonit is with great delight that we’ve been watching what we think is a family of three birds in our neighborhood, soaring by as they hunt for breakfast, and causing a chorus of alarm among the neighborhood birds in fear of becoming their next meal.
In the pictuire you can see a golf-ball-sized protrusion in the chest. I haven’t been able to get any details, but apparently this is the bird’s crop, distended by a recent meal.
By Nancy C. Nelson