My first Crested Caracara


My first “in the wild” crested caracara. This was taken from the car. On our way back from West Palm beach I told my hubby we have to look out for a vulture looking bird with a big orange beak.  We saw him early into our drive. He was sitting in a tree just off the road. Hubby pulled off on the grass and I was able to snap this quickly before he took off. They are only found in Arizona, Texas and Florida and usually in open fields. This bird has alluded me for years. I’ve never heard of one being seen in the Tampa bay area. They are found in central Florida but every time we head to the other side of the state I can’t seem to find them.


Later in our drive, about half way across the state, Hubby spotted this one on the road. He turned around and pulled off the side of the road. I took the above from the car since I was afraid he would take off as well. He did not seem to care, although we were pretty far back.


This one is a juvenile with the pink beak and not quite dark feathers on his body. He was chowing down on a raccoon. I got out of the car and walked slowly towards him but still stayed far away.


Nice yummy piece of raccoon meat in his mouth. He kept an eye on me as he was eating.


What was he thinking as he stared at his meal?


When cars went by he didn’t move but when a big truck came by he would fly over to the grass and come back a few seconds later.


At one point he took off with a bite still in his beak.


Then he flew over to the fence post.


He stayed on the fence post for a while.


Up close, he’s prettier than black or turkey vultures. I mean really, first with the pink beak and then it turns orange. How cool is that? I guess if I saw them everyday I would say (and to quote my Dad) “Just another buzzard.” We were only there for a few minutes, then he flew off across the cow pasture. We saw two other caracaras that day but there wasn’t anywhere to stop off on the side of the road so we kept going. The above were all taken into the sun as well so not ideal. I’m keep looking for them though.