Central Coast California Condor Count= 70+ free-flying

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 :)

November 02, 2015

Fuego stealth no more!

Fuego displays his vibrant head-neck colors
VWS Biologists attach new transmitters
The VWS Condor team successfully trapped Fuego (#470) this past week and replaced his non-functioning radio transmitters. As part of a collaborative effort with the Pinnacles Condor Team, Fuego and other condors are being rounded up right now for routine transmitter replacements and blood lead checks.  Fortunately, Fuego and others tested low in blood lead and were released back to the wild. But that wasn't the case for all, seven condors were sent to captivity to be treated for lead poisoning. Thanks to the support of our partners at LA and Oakland Zoos, the lead-sick condors are given first class care and treatment by dedicated veterinarians and keeper staff.  All seven condors appear to be recovering well and we anticipate their return to the wild in the coming weeks.
Fuego is cleared for take off!
Fuego flies free once again
Shadow (#209) takes flight after testing low in lead
Photos courtesy of www.webnectar.com

October 15, 2015

Girl Power!

Photo of Chick #787 shortly after hatch
We documented yet another fascinating display of condor survival this nest season. Condor females 317 and 171 have been working together to raise a chick in the wild in a nest cave in an extremely remote location in Big Sur. Ca.  VWS Biologists were only able to access the nest twice due to its remoteness.  On the final nest check, they left a trail camera behind to capture the wild hatching process, an event never captured on film.  Biologists hoped this camera would capture a time lapse sequence of the chick hatching and eventual fledging from the nest cave.  

Females #171 and #317 join forces
Biologists are also curious to see how two females will raise a wild chick without a male present. They believe that the two females joined forces after the suspected male mate, #242,to one of the females died shortly after nesting began. Condors parents do most of the rearing, but they also get help from other condors in the flock.  This could be the case with this pair, one female lost her mate and another came in to assist for the greater good of the flock.  

This time lapse video captures nest activity from 4/10/2015-5/27/2015. The chick eventually grew big enough to knock over the camera.  VWS biologists believe the chick, #787 (sex unknown), has fledged and will eventually emerge to join the rest of the flock in the coming months.  

September 15, 2015

Learning to Fly!

Condor #773 honing in his flight skills (Photo-Tim Huntington)
It's official...Condor nestling #773 has left the nest and is learning to fly.  First flights are always the toughest but Condor #773 appears to be progressing well since leaving the nest two days ago. Many first flights usually end in a crash landing, but that's not the case for this youngster, so far so good! Like most parents, Mom (#222) and Dad (#251) have been keeping a very watchful eye on his progress.  

Condor #773 isn't our only nestling this year, Condors #787, #789, and #799 are due to fledge over the next month or so. You can check in on #799 right now- Live Streaming Nest Cam