Archive for January, 2008

2007 California Condor Breeding Season – The Chick Phase

Posted at 2:57 pm January 29, 2008 by Joseph Brandt

The chick stage brought many more hours of observation and entries. In all 18 entries were performed on the six nests during the chick stage. All four nests were found to have trash items of varying degrees during this period (19-233 items). Metal detection and palpation identified metal and foreign bodies many times during chick exams but this did not always translate to stunted development or poor body condition, which were the indicators we used for intervention. There was one occasion of removing trash from the crop of a chick – 60-day-old No. 428 — while at the nest.

Condors Come Home to Baja

Posted at 2:57 pm January 29, 2008 by admin

This informative booklet gives an overview of the natural history of California condors and discusses the recovery efforts of the program in Baja California, Mexico. It is written in English and Spanish.

Condors Come Home to Baja (download PDF to print. This is a large file and may take several minutes to complete.)

Condor Lead Poisoning in Baja

Posted at 11:32 am January 28, 2008 by Michael Wallace, Ph.D.

portable x-rayAfter the suspicious death of condor #390, the most subordinate condor of the 16 free flying birds in Baja, we stepped up our routine annual health exams for the 22 condors both captive and free flying in Baja. On Sunday, November 18, 2007, we discovered 5 out of 8 birds tested to have high lead poisoning using the field lead care kit (HIGH being >65 ug/dl, the limit of the equipment). On Friday, November 23rd, all five condors were transported to the Wild Animal Park’s Harter Veterinary Medical Center, a USDA-approved quarantine facility, and chelation treatment was initiated.

2007 California Condor Breeding Season - A Success in California

Posted at 2:54 pm January 25, 2008 by Joseph Brandt

The US Fish & Wildlife Service is happy to announce the successful end of the 2007 breeding season in the Southern California condor population. The fourth and final California condor chick, No. 449 (aka WC17), fledged on Thursday, Dec. 6. This flight was a distance of 25 meters and was 15 seconds in duration. The bird was 208 days old at time she fledged. The California population produced four chicks this season, condors No. 428 (WC13), 443 (WC15), 449 (WC17) and 450 (WC18), all of which fledged. Currently, fledgling survivorship is 75 percent. Unfortunately, condor No. 443 died shortly following the October 2007 Ranch Fire. All chicks this season are females and are being monitored via radio telemetry and visual observation. We are still keeping track of chick/parent interactions and their movements as they move away from their natal sites.

Team Effort in Southern California Leads to Success

Posted at 2:43 pm January 25, 2008 by Joseph Brandt

With the last chick to fledge we have paused to take a short reprieve from what has been 11 months of intensively monitoring nesting condors. This was just in time for the holidays and to start all over again as pairs have already been observed in courtship behaviors at feeding and roost sites. Volunteer observers helped comprise the first line of defense against nest failure.

Condors Treated for Lead Poisoning

Posted at 2:29 pm January 25, 2008 by admin

Condors with lead poisoning were returned from the Baja California release site to the Harter Veterinary Medical Center at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park for treatment.

Tracking the Baja Birds, Watching the Hierarchy Unfold

Posted at 10:00 am January 25, 2008 by Michael Wallace, Ph.D.

radiotrackingbaja.jpgRadio transmitters, along with more sophisticated GPS-satellite transmitters; attached to each wing, allow us to keep track of short and long distance movements. Trailing from each transmitter, vinyl tags display numbers large enough for the birds to be identified at some distance with binoculars whether the bird is sitting or flying. These “stud book” numbers are each bird’s personal ID and are never repeated.

California Condor Nest Monitoring Training

Posted at 9:39 am January 25, 2008 by admin

Option 1: Wednesday, February 6th (6PM)
Option 2: Saturday, February 9th (10AM)
Location: Ventura FWS Office: 2493 Portola Road, Suite A Ventura

The Santa Barbara Zoo, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, will be training nest monitors for the 2008 season as part of the California Condor Recovery Program. The 2007 season was the first year of our Nest Guarding Program, and we are proud to report that 100 percent of the chicks fledged! This is an unprecedented accomplishment and we invite you to join us as we undertake our second season of nest guarding. The training will cover topics including:

Mexico City Receives Two Condors from San Diego

Posted at 1:06 pm January 24, 2008 by admin

Two condors were transported to the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City from the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park.

Bird Watching from the Blind

Posted at 9:48 am January 24, 2008 by James Sheppard

bobcat.jpg4:00 a.m.…20 degrees F… total darkness… total silence… the crystalline stillness of an isolated alpine wilderness in winter. Nothing for company but me and the smelly carcass of an old goat that has been chained to the rocks just outside my camouflaged blind. Condors are late risers, preferring to sun themselves and preen on their roosts until the morning has warmed their wings and the thermal air currents that enable them to soar for hours without a single wing flap.