[Tweeters] Crested Caracara vagrancy - more reading

Rob Conway robin_birder at hotmail.com
Mon Jun 22 00:03:12 PDT 2015

It could also be extraordinary weather events in California driving the birds further north than usual. With extreme drought almost statewide and temperatures in SE California (Death Valley, Mojave Desert south to and through Mexico, Kern and San Bernadino County at record levels (Death Valley hit 123 degrees today and many other spots 116+) as well as strong monsoonal flow weather could certainly play a part.
SW Washington is expected to hit 100+ degrees on Monday and Tuesday next.

Rob Conway
Camas, WA
45.58°N 122.44°W - elevation 310 ft.
robin_birder at hotmail.com

From: mattxyz at earthlink.net
Subject: Re: [Tweeters] Crested Caracara vagrancy - more reading
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2015 20:43:54 -0700
To: tweeters at u.washington.edu

Another interesting article to look at, mentioned today by Carol Riddell while we were waiting for the Caracara to arrive [it did - yaaay].
In Western Birds, Vol 44, No 1 [2013], there is an article called "Distribution and Movement Patterns of Individual Crested Caracaras in California" by Kristie Nelson and Peter Pyle.In it , they reviewed the 60 sightings of CRCA to that point in California and believed that on review they represented 12 individual birds total. One bird is believed to have been present from 2001 to 2012, and moved variously back and forth from Santa Barbara County in the south up into southern Oregon, sometimes revisiting the same perches after several year absences. Wow!
The timing of 'our' Caracara's discovery might be odd, but put into the context of maybe a bird that has been wandering for years, maybe any time of year is plausible. There is also some nice info about how far some of the wanderers were able to go [#12 went over 800km in 94 days, #10 went over 450km in 25 days [and over 125km in 24 hrs], #11 made it over 800km in 11 days] --
Someone ambitious might take the many photos of 'our' Caracaras and see whether there is any particular marking that might make it possible to 'connect' it to an earlier California, Oregon or Washington bird....
The full issue is available at this link:http://www.westernfieldornithologists.org/archive/V44/journal-44-1.php
and the specific article can be found here:http://www.westernfieldornithologists.org/archive/V44/WB-44(1)-Nelson-45-55.pdf

Thanks Carol for the tip on an interesting read ---
Matt BartelsSeattle, WA

On Jun 16, 2015, at 10:01 AM, Ryan Merrill wrote:I for one do not find this Crested Caracara's appearance in Washington to be all that surprising. Their expected range in the United States is mainly restricted to parts of southern Arizona, Texas, and Florida, but particularly in the past decade vagrants have shown up regularly across the continent including such northern places as Revelstoke, British Columbia and several times in Nova Scotia. It may be somewhat surprising for the caracara to be so far into the foothills, but I could envision a scenario where it ended up following the river and heading up the valley. Then when not wanting to ascend up and over the pass, it looked for an area resembling its natural habitat which is hard to come by in the vicinity of Skykomish. Some of the best potential places when looking at the satellite pictures of the area appear to be the ballfield, airfield, and the current neighborhood it's been inhabiting, all of which have hosted the bird in the past week.

The bird is unbanded, there are no jesses, and I didn't notice any abnormal wear that might suggest it had been in a cage recently. In the past vagrant Crested Caracaras were assumed by several records committees to be of unnatural origin, including the records committees of California, Massachusetts, and Washington, but considering their the recent frequency of vagrant birds across the continent and relative scarcity of captive birds, it seems that most vagrant caracaras are now deemed to be likely natural vagrants.

More can be read online in their reports:

Massachusetts, accepting two Crested Caracara records:

Washington, initially rejecting the Crested Caracara records:

Washington, later accepting the Crested Caracara records:

Rare Birds of California by Hamilton, Patten and Erickson (a book I highly recommend for those birders interested in vagrancy patterns, particularly in western North America) does mention that some of California's Crested Caracara reports have involved known escapees, but it doesn't go into detail on those. It does mention that as of 15 March 2005 there were "19 captive Crested Caracaras at zoos and other participating institutions in North America." The book lists 8 accepted records, plus 10 that weren't accepted (for varying reasons including identification not being established and questionable natural occurrence) and 10 that weren't submitted. The CBRC website lists another 53 accepted records since 2004 which weren't included in the book. The Oregon Bird Records Committee website lists 8 accepted records, 7 of which have been since 2005. Washington has three previously accepted records: one at Ocean Shores in Aug 1983, one at Neah Bay in Jan-Feb 1998, and one near Oakville in late May 2006. There is an older record from 1936 that is not accepted. British Columbia has three records, all of which were adults, according to this summary:


Ryan Merrill
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