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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Animal Rescue I: White-throated Magpie-Jay and Northern Crested Caracara

We are in the peak of the "dry season" (called verano locally) in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve, where the terrestrial ecosystem is Tropical Dry Forest. The dry season brings with it lots of nesting and fledging birds. This past week, two fledging birds were rescued in the forests of our Reserve, and we are caring for them at Estacion Biologica FUNDECI/GAIA with hopes to liberate them back into the forest soon.
The first bird is a White-throated Magpie-Jay (Calocitta formosa). This bird was rescued from a group of boys on the edge of the Reserve. It was not yet ready to be out of the nest, and it had at least four screw-worm larvae in its skin, weak and sick.
This bird is constantly hungry! Photo by Chris Hellyer.
The White-throated Magpie-Jay is very common in the Pacific region of Nicaragua. It is known locally as the "urraca". We knew the species was not at risk of extinction, but it gave us all an important set of lessons in taking care of the nature around us, so we were glad we took it in.
The White-throated Magpie-Jay is among the most common birds in the forests of Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve. Photo by Chris Hellyer.
Everyone in the Pacific region of Nicaragua knows the "urraca", as it is so common. It is found in yards and pastures, broken forests and parks. Many novice birdwatchers love this bird because of its form and actions. It is easily seen, brilliant blue and white, and a great subject for birdwatching. It is noisy, ebullient, and as we learned, it learns to like people very well.
Calocitta formosa
Chris has made a friend. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.
animal rescue
Exercising the wings. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary. 

The bird is very happy with Chris! Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.

Our volunteer Wyatt is charming the little guy. Photo by Chris Hellyer.
Our second bird rescue is a Northern Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway). This species resides from Central US to northern South America. This individual was encountered during our nocturnal wildlife monitoring in Laguna de Apoyo Nature Reserve.
Caracara cheriway
The Northern Crested Caracara is majestic! Photo by Jeffrey McCrary. 
Caracara cheriway
The Northern Crested Caracara (Caracara cheriway) is a predator which usually inhabits open or semi-open areas. This chick, however, was found on the ground in closed forest, most likely because its nest was nearby. Although it could not fly yet, it was strong and in very good spirits. Photo by Chris Hellyer.

Crested Caracara
The chick is at very near complete adult size, but demonstrates lighter plumage and seres. Photo by Chris Hellyer. 
Jeffrey admires the majestic bird! Photo by Chris Hellyer. 

Crested Caracara
The Northern Crested Caracara chick is enjoying an afternoon of supervised liberty (see the cord). He was visited by numerous Great-tailed Grackles and White-throated Magpie-Jays, but none dared to venture too close to him. Soon he will fly away, when he has sufficient wing strength. Photo by Jeffrey McCrary.  
Crested Caracara
Wyatt observes the bird! Photo by Jeffrey McCrary. 
Estacion Biologica FUNDECI/GAIA needs your help. Can you help to contribute to our wildlife conservation program? We can receive donations via PayPal (our account is found at If you have time to contribute, you can come to work with us too. Please help us save wild Nicaraguan nature! The wildlife conservation projects at FUNDECI/GAIA depend on your support.
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1 comment:

Laguna de Apoyo said...

These guys are eating us out of the house! Would anyone want to donate some dog food?