Southern Agenda

Nesting Instincts

When a storm blew a young crested caracara falcon out of its cabbage palm nest this past spring, a South Florida Water Management District team rushed the fallen fledgling to Jupiter’s Busch Wildlife Sanctuary, which is celebrating forty years this year and is open to the public, with walking paths and animal observation areas. A close examination at the sanctuary’s wildlife hospital revealed that the caracara was a bit dehydrated but otherwise healthy enough to go home. With the original nest wind strewn, the sanctuary worked with the management district to build a makeshift one right underneath the original; the parents were spotted back home with their offspring the following day. “Nest disturbances are not uncommon,” says Christen Mason, the sanctuary’s operations director. “If this happens in your yard, you can create a new nest using a basket, plastic strawberry container, or other container with holes. Secure the ‘nest’ to the tree as high up as possible, line it with leaves or grass clippings, and place the baby in it. The parents will continue to take care of their baby in this new nest.”