Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Visit From An Aztec Warrior

I've been waiting for this!  Caracaras are not uncommon here, but I never seem to have my camera ready.  This beautiful member of the falcon family obliged me by sitting quietly in the morning sun, waiting to have his picture taken.

Crested Caracara, watching the morning pass by.
The Caracara is the national bird of Mexico and you can see why: it has an almost stylized appearance.  To see one sitting on a pole like this is wonderful, but it is incredible to watch one fly low over a meadow or land, with those huge feet outstretched, on a poor, unsuspecting mouse.  Once you see a Caracara, you'll never mistake it for any other bird of prey.

Mexican Coat of Arms.  Look familiar?
Caracaras are also known to feed on carrion and have a widely varied diet.  It prefers open grasslands, where it can keep a sharp eye out for dinner, and only ventures as far north as Texas, Arizona and Florida.  Although it's common here, I understand it's becoming more rare in Florida as habitat disappears. 


  1. Thank you for posting that pic. I have never seen one. Maybe because I live in the pine trees in North Houston.

  2. Aren't they cool, Victor? You need to take a drive out to the country sometime...

  3. That is a beautiful bird. I never saw one before. It looks so exotic!