As described, in birding books: “The Crested Caracara often walks on the ground on long legs in search of prey”.
And, this is exactly where Howard and I saw this large raptor. We were out for a hike and as we crested a hill at The Celery Fields in Sarasota, Florida, we spotted this Crested Caracara across a large field. The Celery Fields are very picturesque and known as a great place to bird.
The big guy was on the ground, surrounded by Vultures, and appeared to be feeding on something in the grass. We decided to see if we could approach him close enough for me to capture a photo. As we got closer, he seemed so focused on his prey and with keeping the Vultures away, that he simply ignored us.
I didn’t want to get so close that my presence disturbed his eating, but close enough to get a few photos. He stayed on the ground eating for quite awhile and then flew off. As we walked over to see what he was eating, which appeared to us to be a huge catfish, the Vultures flew off unhappy with us!
The Crested Caracara is fairly common in Texas; rare to casual and local in Azizona; rare in Louisiana; fairly common and local in Florida.
Their Florida and Arizona populations are stable with Texas population increasing and expanding. They are considered threatened federally and in Florida.
A beautiful raptor indeed!
Sharing with Eileen at Saturday’s Critters