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"The bird was seen by Sarah Cook, a close acquaintance of Mr. Hughes eating
a roadkill opossum at the corner of Mallard Road and Rt. D (about 2 miles
south of the previous sighting)."

It was fortunate that Ms. Cook stopped for some roadkill -- and had her
camera handy -- or even fewer birders would have had the opportunity to see
this remarkable bird!

-- 
John Besser
Columbia MO
[log in to unmask]


On Thu, Dec 10, 2015 at 8:14 AM, Edge Wade <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Tuesday and Wednesday, June Newman and I searched for the Crested Caracara.
>
> This is a synopsis of what we learned about the Crested Caracara seen in
> Newton County, Missouri in November/December, 2015.  Others with better
> information are encouraged to share it on this forum in the hope that
> better informed birders will have an increased chance of relocating the
> bird.
>
> SIGHTINGS
> In a conversation with Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) employee
> Jake Hughes on December 9, at a maintenance building at Fort Crowder
> Conservation Area, Mr. Hughes said he first saw the bird “almost three
> weeks ago.”
>
> This sighting was on Rt. HH, northwest of Owl Road.  The bird was on a
> dirt mound (landowner sells topsoil).  Mr. Hughes knew he’d not seen this
> kind of bird before.  He described it as black and white “standing tall”
> and orange on its beak.  He told another MDC employee about it, and they
> looked in a field guide, but did not find anything that matched what Mr.
> Hughes saw.
>
> Mr. Hughes told others about the strange bird he’d seen, but there were no
> reported sightings until Monday, December 7.  The bird was seen by Sarah
> Cook, a close acquaintance of Mr. Hughes eating a roadkill opossum at the
> corner of Mallard Road and Rt. D (about 2 miles south of the previous
> sighting).   She was able to photograph it, and called a friend who was an
> hour away.
>
> The bird was lost, then refound at least once that day.  Photographs were
> posted by Ms. Cook to Facebook.  Relays of word that the photographs were
> on Facebook included a general location as “southeast of Crowder College”.
> Subsequent inquiries resulted in the Rt. D and Mallard Rd. area as the
> location.
>
> On December 8, birders learned that in addition to the Rt. D/Mallard site,
> it had been seen “up near the shooting range”.  The shooting range is on
> Owl Road north of D.  Apparently this was a third-hand reference to the
> initial sighting that was actually well north and west of the shooting
> range.
>
> At least four carloads of birders searched most of the daylight hours on
> December 8, and at least one car searched for 6 hours on December 9.  The
> bird was not refound.  Searching was focused on the area from Mink Road
> (first road west of Mallard) to Owl Road and some to Parrot Road (east of
> Owl), mostly to the south of Rt. D.  Some forays were made to the north,
> past the shooting range, but the turn around point was at Rt. HH.  We
> didn’t learn of the exact location of the first sighting until nearly out
> of time on December 9, so had not searched that immediate vicinity.
>
> TERRAIN AND HABITAT
> This part of Newton County, Missouri ranges from large areas of almost
> flat through gently rolling to rolling land.  A great deal of it is
> grassland.  Grass type varies.  Much of this is in pasture with cattle
> present; much is hayfields.  There are some areas that are quite
> savanna-like, with a few large trees in the grasslands.  There are several
> small woodland areas (much like woodlots), and some woodland in the lower
> areas to the south near Indian Creek.  Fort Crowder Conservation Area is
> 2,212 acres of mostly woodland lying north of Rt. D, east of Owl.  This
> appears to be the largest non-grass dominant land in the vicinity.
>
> Generally speaking, although not nearly as flat as coastal Texas, the
> “feel” of the land we searched was very much like that of Kleberg, Kenedy,
> Willacy, Cameron and Hidalgo counties in southeast Texas.  These are
> counties where Crested Caracara are common.
>
> An additional feature that might be attractive to a Crested Caracara are
> several pullet and egg laying facilities, with multiple buildings at 4
> sites.  One is about a half-mile south of Rt. D on Mallard, two are on the
> south side of Rt. D between Mallard and Owl, and one on the north side at
> Owl.  These greatly reminded me of the now defunct facilities east of
> Kingsville, TX (Kleberg Co.), where great concentrations of Crested
> Caracaras were found when chicken carcasses were dumped near them.
>
> There was a cow carcass on the west side of Owl south of Rt. D that
> several Bald Eagles had been feeding on.  We saw at least 7 Bald Eagles in
> the search area.  There were a few Turkey Vultures and several pairs of
> Red-tailed Hawks.
>
> Mr. Hughes said he regularly put out road kill deer in an open area at the
> Conservation Area and had enjoyed watching the eagles on them in past
> years, but that he had not found any deer carcasses to put out yet this
> season.
>
> Edge Wade
> Columbia, MO
> [log in to unmask]
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
> ASM Website: http://mobirds.org/
> ABA Birding Code of Ethics
> http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html
>

------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Website: http://mobirds.org/
ABA Birding Code of Ethics
http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html