Central Coast California Condor Count: Sixty adult birds and fledged juveniles free-flying today!

October 21, 2013

New Condor Cam is online!

Ventana Wildlife Society's Condor Cam is Live and streaming! 
Check it out- Condor Cam

The Condor Cam was made possible by Ventana Wildlife SocietyOakland ZooFedEx and Camzone and is the ultimate tool to see endangered condors in the wild through the eyes of the Biologists who are trying to save them. 
The Condor Cam is located at Ventana Wildlife Society's condor release site in Big Sur Ca.
Despite their large size, condors can be incredibly aloof, so be sure to check back in if you don't see condors on your first visit to the cam.   Condors are typically most active midday, although we do observe early morning/late afternoon condor feeding and bathing events quite regularly.

The Condor Cam in action

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To learn more about the Condor Cam, Click here


May 02, 2013

Condor Moms are the best!

Our 2013 condor nest season is fully underway!  As part of our nest research, we get intimate looks at condors and their wild nests each season- here are few highlight pics from this year that really tell the story.
Condor 171's wild egg failed in March after we discovered it was crushed (possible thin eggshells), but luckily we swapped it out in time with an artificial one and she started incubating again. We brought her a foster egg from LA Zoo (picture above) to hatch with her mate, 194. 

Condor 190 calmly incubates inside her redwood nest cavity.  She and her mate, 167, have been nesting in this fire carved redwood nest cavity since 2006.

Condor female 400 attentively tends to her wild egg.  She's probably wondering why we are there. This is the first nest attempt by 400 and we are excited to see new pairs joining the ranks. She is paired up with first time male, 345.

Stay tuned for more blogs from the field!
The Condor Crew

March 27, 2013

Two condors released!

We have finally released our two captive birds, 597 and 615, into the wilds of Big Sur.  They are now the newest members of the flock and we look forward to seeing them soaring above the ridges of Ventana Wilderness. 597 was “soft release" (a release requiring no handling) from the flight pen. 597 chose to give the team the slip as she flew down the canyon from the get-go. It was over a week before the bird was seen again, but 597 was observed feeding and socializing with other condors at the release site by the end of the month. 
615's repaired tail

615 needed a little tail feather maintenance before release. He had lost six of his tail feathers due to unusual wear and tear in the flight pen, rendering him flightless. Mike Clark came up from the LA Zoo to give the condor a special batch of new feathers with a falconry technique known as “imping.” Mike attached specially-prepared feathers with pieces of wood and glue to 615’s feather stumps to fashion a new tail for the bird. 

615 takes in his new surroundings
615 was released into the world and he took to the wild with confidence and spunk.  He spent the first day socializing with the older birds and observing his new surroundings. 

Stay tuned for future condor blogs!
The Condor Crew

October 31, 2012

A shakey, yet promising, start!

Condor chicks 663, 664, and 665 have flourished this fall, with 664 taking her first tentative flights early in the month. She was first seen hopping from her coastal redwood nest tree in brief spurts of wing beats to nearby trees, and as the month has progressed she has been spotted making not-yet graceful circles around her nesting canyon with her legs down, prepared to land at any moment. Let's just her flights were a bit shakey at first!

664 takes flight!

A trio parenting scenario was confirmed this month. DNA testing revealed that Pinnacles’ oldest condor, 306 is actually 664’s genetic mom! The father 251, and step-mom 222 have been seen in the area encouraging 664’s flights, but 306 has been the most attentive. This intriguing insight into condor culture is a fascinating surprise.

Stay tuned for more field blogs!
The Condor Crew

July 31, 2012

Condor Nestling Rescued

This month while doing the nest entry to check on 167/190’s chick, 646, our nest team discovered the 94 day old chick had a broken wrist. We check on the chicks approximately every 30 days to make sure that they do not have any symptoms of lead poisoning, any palpable trash in their crops and to do an overall health check (see image, right).

646 was evacuated from the nest and brought to the LA Zoo for an x-ray and treatment, but unfortunately since she will be away from her nest and parents for the duration of her treatment, she will not be able to be returned to the nest to fledge from the wild. However, 646 will be able to rejoin the flock once she has completely healed: the caretakers at the LA Zoo will be able to hand-rear the chick and she will then be raised by Condor mentors in a temporary captive setting, eventually rejoining other Condors in the wilds of Big Sur.

Until next time!
The Condor Crew