Spirited bird

When Cabo the Crested Caracara is tethered to her perch in the weathering yard at Treasure Coast Wildlife Center, she needs two clips because she has figured out how to free herself from just one attachment.

She is spirited and beautiful and has never outgrown her adolescent sass that I have been told is common among Crested Caracaras, a native Florida bird. She is happiest, it seems, when she travels to events as an educational ambassador for the wildlife center and there are lots of people, noise, and activities around her. She was completely unfazed by the sound of props and jets at the Stuart Airshow in early November, even the F-22 Raptor and the F-16 Falcon. “What’s that bird?” was a common question.

The Crested Caracara looks like a hawk with its sharp beak and talons, behaves like a vulture, and is technically a large tropical black-and-white falcon. It is instantly recognizable standing tall on long yellow-orange legs with a sharp black cap set against a white neck and yellow-orange face. The Crested Caracara is a bird of open country and reaches only a few states in the southern U.S. It flies low on flat wings, and routinely walks on the ground.

She is one of the educational birds (hawks and owls) I have learned to move from the mews to the weathering yard on the days when I volunteer at TCWC. I travel 25 minutes west to Palm City a couple of mornings a week and help with some of the simplest animal care jobs like cleaning enclosures and water dishes, and sometimes feeding, so that the certified wildlife rehabbers can do the more important work. I am also planning to volunteer more at educational events, as my knowledge grows.

Here I am with Maxine the Red-shouldered Hawk at the airshow.

I am definitely enjoying being around the birds and other critters. There are temporary patients being rehabbed and permanent residents who cannot be returned to the wild, often due to wing or eye injuries. But I have neglected my blog a bit since I’ve been getting my bird fun elsewhere!

New Year resolution, one month early: back to bird blogging!

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