BC Bird #419 Crested Caracara near Bella Coola

I went on my longest twitch yet over 13 hours to go see a Crested Caracara near Bella Coola. This is the 5th record for the province. Michael Bentley had gone and got the bird first of anyone in BC and after his description of how settled the bird was I new it was worth the trip. I met up with my friend Mike Force in Cache Creek and we drove to Firvale. On the route up we saw 4 Black Bears and had some heavy rain. We stopped in Redstsone for some gas where this adorable shaggy looking mastiff jumped up on me and greeted me with kisses. It was a nice welcome to that small First Nations community. I felt that the twitch would go well after that I don't know why. The dirt road begins at Anahim Lake where we saw some wild horses and had some local cooking at Donna's Place. After leaving Anahim Lake it's a long drive on dirt road to Firvale. The road that goes down to the Bella Coola is a road that is steep and curvy with no guard rail.. it ain't for the faint of heart and I wouldn't want to go down it in poor conditions. Once we made the bottom, we were in awe of the beautiful rainbow mountain range. If only I had time to go see the Kermode Bear at Princess Royal Island but not this time. This time my mission was to see a new BC bird.

The rain stopped and the sun came out as we pulled up to the pasture with the derelict farm. We couldn't see the bird in fact it took 27 mins of scanning when Mike Force exclaimed I got it! We fist pumped and were thrilled it was so cool to have driven this far and not dipped. It is such a cool looking bird the brown plumage with mostly adult markings showed that this bird is a sub-adult. It was busy scratching the ground and feeding like a chicken, it was fun to watch it. It must be eating some earthworms or other larvae. Sometimes it came close to the road, other times I was glad to have my scope when it went to the back of the pasture. It was very curious of the horses and walked right up to them. It didn't appear afraid of us. It didn't like the Bald Eagles or Ravens and when it saw them it would fly fast into the cedar trees on the west side. A few mins later it would fly back into the pasture. I think it was in the trees when we first pulled up and that is why we couldn't see it for almost 30 mins. Danielle Mitchell who was there saw some uncommon for the area Chipping Sparrows but we didn't see them. We did see some beautiful Evening Grosbeaks and a very loud Hammond's Flycatcher among other more common birds.

On the way home we saw many Mountain Bluebirds, 2 American White Pelicans in Williams Lake, a Yellow-bellied Marmot, another Black Bear and the highlight was a big Grizzly Bear near Spences Bridge. We had celebrated the successful twitch with a drink and good meal at Red Rock Grill in 100 Mile House.

The Crested Caracara was bird #419 for me for BC and the longest twitch I've ever done for a bird in the province. My friends Roger Foxall and Peter Candido got the bird the day after me. Sending good luck to Danny Tyson heading there tomorrow.

Record shots of Sub-adult Crested Caracara in Firvale (near Bella Coola) - Photos: Melissa Hafting


  1. Congrats on 419 - what an interesting bird. Now that is dedication 13 hrs each way, what a blessing the caracara was there. Ya I think it was the dog kisses. You have pretty dandy record images to commemorate with making your twitch even more worthwhile. Thanks for sharing the adventure.

  2. Really happy you got to see the bird and had adventure at the same time.

  3. Such a cool bird. Too far for me to chase tho.


  4. You're so brave to go up there. My mum would have a heart attack. Anyway, sounds like you had a great trip and congrats on the bc bird!
    Ps love your shots
    Pss see you in Princeton!

    1. Aww thanks sweetie! Look forward to seeing you in Princeton! Glad you liked the CRCA shots! Maybe we will
      Find something cool in Princeton!!

  5. Looks like a very cool bird. Congrats on a successful twitch!

    1. Thanks emma it sure is cool you should have seen it strut around like a chicken :P


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