Posted by: DarkEyedJunc0 | September 13, 2012

Not a Cara-cara in the world (But one in NJ)

I am at the stage in my birding where a 2 New Jersey lifer day is near impossible! This weekend was the exception.
While looking through the scope at my lifer Baird’s Sandpiper at Sandy Hook, a call came into Martin D. (fellow birder) that a Crested Caracara was spotted in a field in West Windsor, NJ.

Wait, is this the same Caracara I dipped on in Texas? (where I envisioned one every five feet)

Is this the same Caracara that I placed second on my “Most wanted ABA bird” list that I penned earlier in the year?


The bird was found by Vince N. who lives locally and noticed the bird in the field, and apparently called Paul G. who did a great job getting word out!

RF and I kicked around.. will it be there after the 45 minute drive? will it be counted? And finally we just decided … wait! This is a great bird, we both wanted to see it (I needed field time with it..) LET’s GO!

We arrived at the scene with the familiar scene of cars lined up, birders at the side of the road… (which in this case was BRILLIANTLY dubbed “The Caracaravan” by Dave M.)

The “Caracara-van”

We waited, and waited and waited…. and socialized, and waited some more…. until the call came …

The bird was spotted on Old Trenton Road!

Everyone jumped in their cars (Arlene graciously took us, since we were with her) and we filed …. we got there just in time for Melissa R. to yell “GO HIGHER!” and I got an okay flight look of it flying across the power cut!

It was … well, a look.. but not satisfying.

The next day, RF and I were birding Cape May when the reports continued that the bird was back in the field…. so we decided to make a slight detour and get the upgrade!   GLAD WE DID! The bird showed well in the field! I was able to take some shaky video through the scope!

Video can be viewed here:       click to view Crested Caracara video here

The origins of this bird will be most likely be disputed. This is apparently the third record in NJ, and the other two were not accepted. The more recent record at Sandy Hook by Scott Barnes was dismissed as being of unknown origin. (There is a thought that Caracara make great pets.) What can’t be overlooked is that Hurricane Isaac hit the Gulf Coast on August 21st and there were South to Southwest winds in the week leading up to the discovery of the bird.

Hopeful thinking? I’d love for this bird to be counted, but quite frankly, it was a great bird to see, and I don’t really cara-cara.

(you knew that was coming!)



  1. Lisa, you say that the bird was eating bugs….Does that make it a caracaranivore?

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