Daily Bread for 6.30.24: Tropical Falcon Reaches Northern Wisconsin

Good morning.

Sunday in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 71. Sunrise is 5:20 and sunset 8:37 for 15h 16m 39s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 31.5 percent of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1864,  Pres. Lincoln grants Yosemite Valley to California for “public use, resort and recreation.”

Not long ago, birders sighted A Varied Bunting, a First for Birders in Wisconsin. Now, for only the second time, a crested caracara near Ashland draws raves from birders in extremely rare sighting:

Birders from Milwaukee, Madison, Green Lake and Appleton were among the crowd that showed up over the first 24 hours of the sighting.

For nearly all, it was the first time they experienced the species in the Badger State.

The crested caracara looks like a hawk with a sharp beak and talons but behaves like a vulture and is officially in the falcon family. To add to is aura, its nickname is the “Mexican eagle.”

Its typical range is from southern South America, through the Caribbean and Mexico and just into the southern U.S., primarily in Texas.

The bird is “instantly recognizable standing tall on long, yellow-orange legs with a sharp black cap set against a white neck and yellow-orange face,” according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

That’s easy for Cornell to say. When it’s 2,000 miles out of place and been seen in Wisconsin only once before, it can take most state residents, even avid birders, more than a minute to identify.

The crested caracara prefers open country, flies low on flat wings, routinely walks on the ground and is not shy or reclusive, according to its Cornell description.

The species frequently perches on the tallest tree or structure around and is distinguished from vultures because it flies with flat wings (vultures have vee-shaped wings in flight).

In its native range, it is often seen beside vultures feeding on animal carcasses.

Wisconsin presents surprises for those who’ll look.

Sinkhole, estimated 100 feet wide, appears in the middle of an Illinois playing field:

Security camera footage shows the sudden collapse engulfing bleachers and a light pole in the middle of the soccer field.
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