No ,these aren’t the local sports teams. This is often a deadly game for the young hawks and happens every year about this time. The hawks are small birds. We’ve had a pair nesting in our yard at least the past 2 years. They did not use the same nest as last year though as they moved 3 trees over this year. They don’t seem to migrate as I see them year round. They are very common here. This photo was taken last year from the nest in our yard. Sadly, the caracaras showed up just as he was fledging last mid-November (2013) and the poor little guy did not make it. This year’s baby may have made it. He seemed a little older when the caracaras showed up this year at the end of November. We found him in the garage hiding from the attack and he was a little more feathered out than last year’s chick. He was able to fly to a tree for cover where, I assume, his parent’s cared for him. I can always tell when the caracaras show up because all the local hawks, about 3 pairs, show up to drive off the intruders. They are noisy and the flight maneuvers as they dive bomb the intruders are quite spectacular(better than any Blue Angels Air Show!). This picture below is from arthurgrosset.com. This hawk is very similar in coloring to mine but mine is much smaller. I was worried about the hawks attacking my chickens but when one landed in the chicken yard, the chickens chased it off. It’s body size seems pretty small compared to the chickens and ducks. This is the Southern Caracara and he is about twice the size of the hawks. I don’t see them very often but they usually come in pairs. Last year, they came with their almost full grown chick though Wikipedia describes them as solitary. He is described as a “bold, opportunistic raptor” and I agree. They have even been known to raid nests but usually just enjoy a good rotten carcass though I have never seen them at one as it’s usually just the black vultures. Update – The next day, I saw the Southern caracaras in a tree next door. I think they were raiding another nest and then today I saw the hawk pair in our yard mating on the fence post. It makes me think they lost their fledgling chick or they would be too busy caring for it to start another egg.They were also landing on our sheep’s backs to pluck some wool for their nests. Sheep don’t mind at all! Update- I finally identified my hawk with the help of a young friend and he is not a hawk but a carcara falcon called the Chimango Carcara- in latin Milvago chimango – in spanish Tiuque. I am so happy to know this birds name. My book says they forage in flocks though I have rarely seen this. Mine forages alone for scraps in my yard. Now he sets on my porch rail and waits for hand outs. I can’t resist leaving him scraps of food.
The flowers are fragrant and bloom in late October. The flowers when pollinated form an achene which is a small, dry, one-seeded fruit ( the sunflower seed is an achene). The flowers and leaves can be brewed into tea for medicinal purposes – headaches and as a diuretic. In the fall when the achenes open the wind disperses the seeds with the aid of fine feathery filaments. Last year we had clouds of them blowing across our yard! And the Austral parakeets flock to this tree when the seeds are ripe. But don’t stand underneath or you will be showered with fluff and seedpods!
My favorite tree on our new farm. We are clearing underneath it for a picnic spot.
The tree is not just a single organism but a whole complex of living organisms. The tree is a host to mosses, lichens, grasses and vines along with insects and in this one a particularly vocal little wren.
I noticed this flock of squawking parakeets last March- about 20-25 of them. I guess they were getting ready to migrate north for the winter because I did not see them again until October. A small flock has been flying around the area. They are easy to spot because they are noisy and they have long tails. They landed on a Notro tree next door and it looked as if they were eating the red flowers though they mostly eat seeds, nuts, and small fruit.These pictures were taken with permission from Arthur Grosset’s Birds website that has pictures that he has taken all over the world. Here is the site http://www.arthurgrosset.com/index.html
The southernmost parakeet in the world
They nest in cracks and crevices in trees- looks a little tight in there!