Archive for February, 2008

On the Lookout for the Thunderbird; Public Input Sought

Posted at 5:45 pm February 29, 2008 by admin

It’s bald, with a spiky-feathered collar and you may see its 9-foot wings outstretched high in the sky or perched contentedly in a large tree. What is it? It may be the largest flying bird in North America – the California condor.

Breeding Season: Eggs Have Been Laid

Posted at 1:17 pm February 27, 2008 by admin

More than a dozen eggs have been laid by wild California condors and condors at the breeding centers. More eggs are expected this season.

The First Nest Entry of the 2008 Season: Fertility Check on a First Time Pair

Posted at 8:15 am February 26, 2008 by Joseph Brandt

The sky is full of vibrant pinks and deep reds on the early morning of February 12th it looks to be another beautiful southern California day. We begin this day by filling our packs with rebar, carabineers, webbing, and climbing rope. In addition to the nest observations, we have planned a series of nest entries as a part of health checks on nests that began in 2007.

Today will be the first entry of the 2008 season. Our goal today is to determine whether the first time pairing of condors 79 and 247 has produced a fertile egg. If we happen to find an infertile egg, it is possible to substitute that egg with a replica that the pair will treat as its own. Later it can be replaced with a healthy egg that was laid in captivity and is on the verge of hatching. This process is referred to as an egg transplant. In this case, condors 79 and 247 have an egg that we suspect to be about 20 days old. We are hoping they have a fertile egg.

Santa Barbara Zoo Condor Exhibit: Under Construction

Posted at 8:13 am February 26, 2008 by admin

Put on your hardhats! Monday, the Santa Barbara Zoo started construction on the new California condor exhibit. We’ve been delayed by permitting issues, now resolved, since our expected start date in October 2007.

I arranged a photo opportunity dedication back then, with members of the Chumash Nation. It was a gloriously sunny day and all the local media turned out to see tribal elder and spiritual leader Adelina Alva-Padilla bless the site by burning sage and waving it heaven-ward with an eagle wing. “Eagle takes messages from the people up to Condor who takes them up to god,” she said.

Better Late Than Never

Posted at 4:37 pm February 25, 2008 by Bird Keeper

It was not until Friday, Feb. 8, at 4:10 pm, that Molloko (condor No. 45) finally kicked off the breeding season for the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park and laid our first long awaited egg of the year. When the egg was candled on Feb. 10, we were already able to see a little shadow of hope sitting on top of the yolk. Two days later we were able to happily confirm that Xol-Xol (condor No. 25) and Molloko’s egg was in fact fertile.

Condor Release Scheduled March 15 in Arizona

Posted at 10:59 am February 25, 2008 by admin

BOISE, Idaho – In the Vermilion Cliffs Monument in northern Arizona at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 15 the public may observe the release from a viewing area where spotting scopes will be set up and experts will be available to answer questions.

Twenty Years of Molloko

Posted at 9:39 pm February 22, 2008 by Bird Keeper

There have been many milestones in the history of the California Condor Recovery Program, but this year marks the 20th anniversary of the most important one. On April 29, 1988, a little condor hatched at the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park.

“Junk food”

Posted at 12:16 am February 7, 2008 by Bill Toone

Condors are curious creatures and attracted to shiny objects. When rearing their young, they look for solid material to feed their young to help in development. Decades ago, they used to select bits of bone. Now, they have more interesting choices … glass, bottle caps, pop-tops, etc. discarded by humans.

Young condors are unable to digest or regurgitate these items and perish. CRES scientists are trying to teach zoo-reared condors to make the right choices and also providing sterilized bone in feeding areas.

What can I do?
Dispose of trash properly
Remove and dispose of trash you encounter on the trail

Lead Poisoning

Posted at 11:50 pm February 6, 2008 by Bill Toone

This is the most crucial roadblock to the recovery of the California condor. Exposure to lead is a well-recognized danger to humans, mammals, and birds. After a 20-year effort to bring the California condor back from the brink of extinction, lead poisoning continues to be a threat to the recovery of the species.

The Pairing of No. 247 & No. 79 and the First Egg of the Season

Posted at 4:16 pm February 6, 2008 by Geoff Grisdale

The first wild condor nest of the season was found on January 30 by the Santa Barbara Zoo nesting technician team. The nest is located in the vicinity of the Sespe Condor Sanctuary in Southern California. An interesting new pairing has formed this year between the young male condor No. 247 and the oldest free flying female condor No. 79 (Indian name Pitahsi) to produce this egg.