Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner in Gonzales
TE photo, October 2014
of the Millennium!
name is echoic, meaning the name imitates it's cry. Caracara is the
sound that is heard by Brazilian Indians. Why we have to have Brazilian
Indians name it is beyond us.
or Mexican Eagle
time you find yourself heading toward Gonzales
County, pay attention when you pass the roadside road-kill buffets.
The fastidious, over-dressed diners feasting with the common garden-variety
vultures on the carcass du jour are more than likely the beautiful
and regal Crested Caracara. These are members of the Falcon
family and they usually stand out like tuxedos in a soup kitchen serving
line. The bird, sometimes referred to as a Mexican eagle, has
manners equal to its regal appearance. They are monogamous, they build
(extremely sturdy) nests and are attentive parents who preen daily,
setting a good example for their offspring. Sharing a carcass with
inferior birds is done reluctantly. The Caracara is quite capable
of killing living prey and with its powerful legs, The birds have
been known to run down their prey – or even wade in shallow water.
For reasons known only to the Caracara, Gonzales
County has the highest concentration of these magnificent birds
in the entire U.S. Indeed, it is hard to spend a day in rural Gonzales
County without seeing at least one. Gonzales
State Park is where the Audubon Society takes its yearly census.
While their range extends throughout Mexico
all the way to Argentina, they are only found in Texas,
New Mexico and Arizona in the U.S. - with a small colony located in
|Caracara in Clearwater,
at a raptor rescue exhibit October 2014
Crested Caracara, under care at the Wildlife Rehab & Education Center
Photo courtesy Cyndi Bohannon
with its prey
series of photos included here were taken along highway 71 near Bastrop,
Texas. (Bastrop County shares a border with Gonzales County).
A grass fire in early March 2009, scorched some 50 acres east of town,
exposing wildlife and providing a feast for scavenging birds. In this
case, the meal was a four foot rattlesnake.
'It seems the Caracaras
must have expensive lobbyists representing them in Washington DC.
The United States Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects Crested Caracaras
as an endangered species, even though these big birds only visit Arizona,
Florida, and Texas. This leaves the remaining 47 states to the Yellow-Bellied
Sapsucker, Red-Footed Booby and Dark-Rumped Petrel. However, in Mexico,
where Caracaras have the exalted title of National Bird, humans sometimes
eat them. Go figure." more