Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Illusive California Condor

To me, I don't think these birds are anything to croon over but in Big Sur the bird nuts go crazy for them! The California condor is a very endangered bird, found only in central California and near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. I have been seeing condors almost every day for the past week here along the coast. Monday (2-7) there were three circling Sea Lion Cove (aptly named for the sea lions that hang out there) probably looking for a fresh carcass to feast on. These guys are not afraid of humans and will fly right up next to you and let me tell you, even though I am not particularly excited when I see them, having a 20 lb bird with a 9 foot wingspan come within 2 feet of you is both frightening and cool at the same time.

Condors are tracked here in Big Sur just like I track otters. All of the condors have a transmitter and tag on their wing (either right or left side) which is visible in these photos. Last I have heard there are less than 200 condors in the wild. 

This condor was preening mid flight!