Central Coast California Condor Count= 70+ free-flying

February 09, 2016

A New Addition!

Last week, VWS Biologists were excited to be able to confirm the existence of a second untagged juvenile! This chick is believed to be Condor #789, the offspring of Condors #199 and #438. Biologists were at the Big Sur Condor Sanctuary watching Condor #787 (a confirmed tagless juvenile, aka “Sky”) perched next to one of her moms when another untagged bird flew past! 
The next day Condor #199, who we suspect to be the new chick’s father, pushed all the other birds off of a calf carcass on the release slope and stood guard, giving his chick a chance to feed uninterrupted. 


Condor #789 was born in a redwood nest deep in the Ventana Wilderness. Because of the inaccessibility and remoteness of the nest, biologists were unable to visit it to determine if the chick hatched and fledged successfully. This chick was successfully fledged with absolutely no human intervention or assistance – completely wild! The mystery chick’s true identity will not be confirmed until biologists are able to capture it and perform a blood test to determine his or her parentage and sex.  Until then keep an eye on the condor cams, you may be able to spot her or our other untagged juvenile, Condor #787!

December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays from the flock!


As 2015 comes to an end, our crew has been busy keeping track of the newest members of the flock – seven young captive-raised birds that now call the hills and coastline of San Simeon home. These youngsters have been rapidly gaining flying skills and attention since we began releasing them in September. For more details, check out this article published last week in the Cambrian.

All of this year’s fledglings are thriving, including our mysterious untagged juvenile. 787, aka “Sky”, was spotted again last week at the release slope. This makes Sky the first of this year’s fledglings to make his or her big debut on the Big Sur social scene. Keep an eye out for Sky on the camera!

We also welcomed back several condors that had completed treatment for lead poisoning. Thanks to the skilled keepers at the Oakland and LA Zoos, they are fully recovered and have been released back into the wild. Here VWS Condor Interns Jane Sheffer and Darren Gross hold 219, aka “Puff Daddy”, as his transmitters are replaced before his release.
Interns with Condor 219
This holiday season, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and hope that you are able to celebrate condor style, by chowing down while surrounded by family and friends. .
Happy Holidays from the Condor Crew!

December 07, 2015

Princess Elevates Her Game!

Princess perched high in a tree. Photo- Jane Sheffer
After spending a few days close to the ground, we are happy to report that Princess made it safely in to the tree canopy near her nest. We spotted her in a tree last week and she looking great.  We even saw her Dad, 167, coming in to visit her briefly. As of today, Princess was still in the same area but has moved to a new tree, so things continue to look up for her!
167 visits with Princess.  Photo: Jane Sheffer
Another exciting observation...we spotted an untagged juvenile condor flying over the coast. We believe it's condor chick #787 but can't confirm it just yet. Stay tuned!

November 24, 2015

Princess Takes Flight!

Princess after her first flight
Condor 799, aka,Princess, finally fledged! Last week VWS Biologists noticed a significant change in her radio signal strength, which was always much weaker when she was inside the confines redwood nest. She was also not in view on the nest cam for a couple days.  On Thursday 11/18 we confirmed she was indeed out of the nest. She was seen close to the ground below the nest with both parents in trees nearby. We're hoping she finds her way in to the trees and away from the dangers of ground predators like coyotes and bobcats. We will keep you posted!

November 16, 2015

Mother and Son bond is strong

Condors 773 and 222 soaring wing tip to wing tip.
Photo- www.webnectar.com
Condor 222 has been escorting her young fledgling son, #773, above the nest area in recent days.  Condor #773 was the first chick to fledge this year in Big Sur. Three other chicks still have yet to be confirmed fledged so lots more action to be had this season.  Condor #773 is well ahead of the curve having already sustained lengthy flights in the vicinity of the nest and ridges above.  Always helps build confidence to have a parent keeping the ever so watchful eye :)