Quixote- Crested Caracara
Vincent- Black Vulture
Vultures and Caracaras
In the fall of 2013, Vincent, a 12-week-old Black Vulture was transferred to ARC from another rehabilitation facility. He had suffered from Avian Pox resulting in the partial amputation of his right wing, not allowing him to return to the wild.
Vinnie is in training as one of our educational ambassadors and he has participated in a few educational programs and done very well. Black Vultures do not hunt and kill prey but rather search for carrion (animals that have already died) therefore playing an indispensable role in preventing the spread of disease from decomposing animals.
Black Vultures stay with their mates for many years, all year round. They feed their young for as long as 8 months and maintain strong social bonds with their families throughout their lives.
Quixote is a young Crested Caracara from Florida, just about two years old. His wing was permanently injured and so he cannot be released. While it is unknown how he injured his wing, young Caracaras will sometimes feed on roadkill, and so it is thought he may have been struck by a car while feeding by the roadside.
Caracaras will eat carrion, and are often found feeding on the ground. They have long legs with which they can hunt and kill snakes without being struck. Due to their crane-like legs, Caracaras are sometimes compared to Vultures, but they are actually in the falcon family! Despite being related to falcons genetically, they bear little resemblance to their fast flying cousins, with featherless skin around their face, long necks, and thick bills. They're social birds, and when food is abundant, they be found in the wild roosting in groups of dozens at a time!
When Caracaras become excited, their yellow facial skin flushes, and can turn quite pink, quite a sight to see! Quixote enjoys taking a bath on hot summer days. If you meet him at ARC, listen for his call - it's gravely rattle is a unique sound indeed.