[Tweeters] Thoughts on the Crested Caracara

Bud Anderson falconresearch at gmail.com
Tue Jun 16 13:54:36 PDT 2015

Nice summary Ryan.

See also Birds of Washington, p.367 for the historic view from 2005.

It took a long, long time for WA birders to accept that Crested Caracaras
could occur naturally in Washington.

The usual response in the past was always that they must be escapees. For
some reason that's what comes up first.

Personally, I have never had a problem with wild caracaras flying this far
north. They are easily capable of it.

But fortunately, this is one of those situations where all these many years
of observing by so many dedicated birders has helped to clarify the
behavior and distribution of this rare species in our state and all along
the Pacific coast.

Nice to see.

One thing that puzzles me though.

Since it is an adult, I would expect that it would be somewhere nearer to
its breeding range (AZ/TX) at this time of year, i.e. just after the
nesting season. Talked to Rich Glinski who wrote Raptors of Arizona and the
caracaras down there just fledged a short time ago.

So is this a bird so far away from its normal range that it has been living
up here for awhile as a non-breeder? Like a year or more? Or did it just
arrive? Wish there was a way to know exactly how old it is (there isn't).

When do these vagrant caracaras start to wander? As juveniles? As adults?

They could certainly make it through our northern winters as they breed all
the way south to Tierra Del Fuego at the tip of South America (roughly
equivalent to Prince Rupert or Queen Charlotte Islands of BC).

So many questions...

Bud Anderson
Falcon Research Group
Box 248
Bow, WA 98232
(360) 757-1911
falconresearch at gmail.com
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