Sunday, February 28, 2016

Double-toothed Kite story

On January 28th, the day on our own, Lisa, Cookie and I took the hotel van to the start of the Panama Rainforest Discovery trail.  The driver dropped us off at an abandoned painted cinderblock hut with a weathered sign and not a soul in sight.  Nevertheless, the sign was clear so we began our hike to the center.  It was hot so activity was slow.  We came upon a couple of little pockets of bird activity, but mostly the activity seemed to be with plants, butterflies and dragonflies - all of which we enjoyed.

Then we heard some crashing overhead.  Not little crashing - big, loud crashing with trees swaying and things flying through the air.

Capuchin Monkey (Cebus capucinus), just one of a troop of about twenty.     

As we watched the monkeys overhead, all ages and sizes, a raptor flew in and perched.  We all snapped quick photos without really giving much attention to this bird.  Noting the orange barring, I recall commenting "probably a roadside hawk."  The monkeys were so many, so loud and so distracting while running, swinging, jumping from tree to tree across the road and continuing until they were out of sight and only their treetop crashing could still be heard.

Then the raptor flew too, along with them, and we continued on our hike.

Later that night, Lisa was checking her camera and came to her photos of this raptor.  "Do you think this is a roadside hawk?" she asked.  "I don't think it is."  She pulled in to reveal a close-up of the head and face and the bird's large beak was eye-catching - complete with the double-tooth.

Alas, my photo quality is of much poorer quality than Lisa's Nikon images.  Still, the double-tooth can sort of be seen.  

We got out the Panama field guide - truly a limited resource - but in this case clearly revealing a Double-toothed Kite (Harpagus bidentatus) with the following narrative.  "Often soars; frequently follows troops of white-faced monkeys (sometimes other monkeys) to catch the insects and other small animals that their foraging stirs up." (Page 40, 2010 edition.)

I love when things happen this way - that is, a way that won't be forgotten.  Also, my life Double-toothed Kite and meaningful to me to see the kite in a way that typifies one of its behaviors.

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