Posts Tagged ‘Yellow-headed Caracara’

SURVIVAL

February 25, 2013

The competition for survival in nature is non-stop. In temperate climates it is often slow-moving and unseen. In the tropics where heat and water and more plentiful and the biomass is several times greater than in most of the U.S., the competition is often very evident. Strangler figs reaching the canopy by killing the host tree. Long lines of army ants or leaf-cutter ants moving along the forest floor, carrying their bounty. Army ants are killers, leaf-cutters harvest leaves that they feed to their fungus farm which in turn feeds the ants. An insect version of an Iowa corn and soybean farm. On our way east along the Pan-American Highway, somewhere west of Lake Bayano in Panama, we came across a lareg grassy field being disced by a man on tractor. The grass and weeds were well-established so the animals living in that field had their cover blown. Here is one sequence of a Yellow-headed Caracara trying to get up the courage to attack a large blue-gray snake uncovered by the human on tractor:P1470828

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Y-H CARA ATTK

Y-H CARA FANND

Y-H CARA SPRD

Y-H CARA WINGS

YHC WATCH

YHC-1

YHC-2
Later one of the many Turkey Vultures present flew in and shooed the much smaller caracara away. we did not see the final result for the snake, which may or may not have been injured by the tractor and disc. There were numerous caracara working the worked field and a Peregrine even came by to check the action, but it didn’t linger. Most of the birds int he field were Black and Turkey Vultures, clearly pleased by the results of the discing. Little Blue and Tricolored Herons and Great Egrets walked near the tractor to get first shot at what was turned up.
To see Yellow-headed Caracara and witness the natural processes that are so intense in the Neotropics, you can join one of our birding trips to Panama or other Latin American destinations.