California Condor

Location: Devils Gate, Los Padres N.F.

Camera Host: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Cam Offline

The Devils Gate Condor cam is offline due to issues with persistent fog and clouds that have reduced the amount of power we can gather from solar panels on site. The US Fish and Wildlife Service is still monitoring the young condor and we will post updates when we receive them. Thanks for your patience during this downtime—hopefully the cam will be back up & running soon.

Find more about Weather in Hopper Mountain NWR, CA

November 19, 2017

Update From USFWS: No Fledge Yet!

On day 222 of nesting, the USFWS reports that California Condor chick #871 is still yet to fledge. At nearly 7.5 months in the nest, the Devils Gate chick is taking her time, but the history of this nest site suggests that it's not unusual for chicks to prolong their nestling period here. Five years ago, condor chick #658 made his first flight on day 222 in the nest (check out the clip of his fledge from our parters at the Santa Barbara Zoo and USFWS's Facebook page, the Condor Cave), so it could be any day now for #871! The USFWS continues to monitor the nest closely, and we will provide any new updates as soon as we hear about them. 

November 14, 2017

Update on #871: Getting Closer To Fledging

On their most recent check up on #871, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reports that the chick has still not fledged but is "branching out" and scrambling out to other areas on the nest cliff. There were no photo opportunities of the chick this time, but observers did catch the female (#513) perched in the tree just outside the nest.  

November 10, 2017

Condor Chick #871 Still Hanging Out Around Nest Area

We received a welcomed update from our partners at the USFWS and Santa Barbara Zoo on their Facebook page, "The Condor Cave." According to our partners, "Condor biologists have trekked out across the canyon to check up on her and make sure that she's continuing to develop normally and to ensure that she's on the right track to fledge. Yesterday, one of the biologists was able to catch her sunning out on a rock just outside of her nest cavity. You'll see her circled in purple next to a large tree that her parents like to perch on." #871 should be on track to fledge very soon! Check out a larger image on their page by clicking "More." More...

November 19, 2017

Update From USFWS: No Fledge Yet!

On day 222 of nesting, the USFWS reports that California Condor chick #871 is still yet to fledge. At nearly 7.5 months in the nest, the Devils Gate chick is taking her time, but the history of this nest site suggests that it's not unusual for chicks to prolong their nestling period here. Five years ago, condor chick #658 made his first flight on day 222 in the nest (check out the clip of his fledge from our parters at the Santa Barbara Zoo and USFWS's Facebook page, the Condor Cave), so it could be any day now for #871! The USFWS continues to monitor the nest closely, and we will provide any new updates as soon as we hear about them. 

November 07, 2017

Condor Chick Flaps and Hops In Front Of Condor Cam

Check out California Condor chick #871's grand entrance to the Devils Gate nest area this morning! The young condor has been spending less time within the California Condor cam's view, but there's been no reports that she has fledged yet. Our partners at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service? conduct frequent observations at the remote nest site in the Los Padres National Forest in Southern California, so we'll keep you up to date with any new happenings! 

October 23, 2017

Devils Gate Condor Chick Balances on Tree Limb

As they prepare to make their first flight, young California Condors become increasingly mobile and more exploratory. Over the past two weeks, #871 has spent much of her time honing her climbing skills on the local vegetation and venturing off camera into the areas surrounding the nest site. Here, she uses a fallen tree limb as a balance beam this morning on the Devils Gate Condor cam. 

November 14

Update on #871: Getting Closer To Fledging

On their most recent check up on #871, the US Fish and Wildlife Service reports that the chick has still not fledged but is "branching out" and scrambling out to other areas on the nest cliff. There were no photo opportunities of the chick this time, but observers did catch the female (#513) perched in the tree just outside the nest.  

November 10

Condor Chick #871 Still Hanging Out Around Nest Area

We received a welcomed update from our partners at the USFWS and Santa Barbara Zoo on their Facebook page, "The Condor Cave." According to our partners, "Condor biologists have trekked out across the canyon to check up on her and make sure that she's continuing to develop normally and to ensure that she's on the right track to fledge. Yesterday, one of the biologists was able to catch her sunning out on a rock just outside of her nest cavity. You'll see her circled in purple next to a large tree that her parents like to perch on." #871 should be on track to fledge very soon! Check out a larger image on their page by clicking "More." More...

October 16

4-month Health Check Report: Condor Chick Looking Healthy

The results are in! We’re excited to report that the Devils Gate chick received a healthy designation from biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Santa Barbara Zoo during her 4-month health check on August 8, 2017. Weighing in at a sizable 16.5 pounds (adult females are typically 18 pounds), a feisty #871 showed normal behavior of a heathy condor nestling, and was considered to be in great overall condition. Now at over six months of age, #871 is nearly finished molting into her juvenile plumage and should be preparing to fledge at any time within the next 1–4 weeks! 

California Condor

Cliff

Nest Placement

Condors nest mainly in natural cavities or caves in cliffs, though they sometimes also use trees, such as coast redwood and, historically, the giant sequoia. (As the wild population grows, there is the possibility they may return to the sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada.) Condors have multiple nesting sites and may switch sites between years. Females make the final decision on which nest location to use.

Nest Description

Condors lay their eggs directly on the dirt floor of a cliff ledge or cave, or they construct loose piles of debris from whatever is available at the nest site, such as gravel, leaves, bark, and bones. Nests have loosely defined boundaries and are usually about 3 feet across and up to 8 inches deep.

Clutch Size

1-0 eggs

Incubation Period

53-60 days

Nestling Period

163-180 days

Egg Description

Pale blue-green bleaching to white or creamy.

Condition at Hatching

Helpless, covered in white down with eyes open.

Carrion

Food

California Condors eat carrion of land and marine mammals such as deer, cattle, pigs, rabbits, sea lions, and whales. They swallow bone chips and marine shells to meet their calcium needs. They favor small to medium-sized carcasses, probably because smaller bones are easily consumed and digested. Condors locate carcasses with their keen eyesight (not by smell) by observing other scavengers assembled at a carcass. Once they land they take over the carcass from smaller species, but they are tolerant of each other and usually feed in groups. Condors are wary of humans while feeding, which is probably why they do not use roadkill as a food source. In captivity, condors consume 5–7 percent of their body mass per day to maintain their weight, but because their crop (an enlarged part of the esophagus) can hold 3 pounds of food, they may only have to eat every 2–3 days. Young are fed by regurgitation.

Typical Voice

Condors are usually silent, but can issue a variety of hisses and snorts particularly when defending nest sites. Newborn chicks hiss, wheeze, and grunt at adults.more sounds

See full Species Info at All About Birds

About the Nest

This condor nest, known as the Devils Gate nest, is located in the Los Padres National Forest, near Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. The parents of the chick in the Devils Gate nest are mom #513 and dad #206. Dad #206 hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo in 1999 and mom #513 hatched at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise Idaho in 2009. This is their third nesting attempt together but they have yet to successfully fledge a chick.

About the Condor Recovery Project

California Condors are critically endangered; they are on the 2014 State of the Birds Watch List, which lists species most in danger of extinction without significant conservation action. They are also listed as Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. All of the more than 400 condors now alive are descended from 27 birds that were brought into captivity in the early 1980s, in a controversial but successful captive breeding program.

As of 2014, there were more than 230 individuals in the wild in California, Arizona, and Baja California. The number has been rising steadily each year, as captive-bred birds are released and wild pairs fledge young from their own nests. More than 160 additional condors live in captivity at breeding programs or on exhibit at the Los Angeles Zoo, Oregon Zoo, World Center for Birds of Prey, Phoenix Zoo, Chapultepec Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo. Condors have benefited greatly from the Endangered Species Act and from aggressive efforts to breed them in captivity and re-release them into the wild, but the survival of the species is still dependent on human intervention.

The California Condor Recovery Program (Recovery Program) is a multi-entity effort, led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, to recover the endangered California Condor. Partners in condor recovery include the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona Game and Fish Department, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Utah Department of Fish and Wildlife, the federal government of Mexico, Los Angeles Zoo, Oregon Zoo, Santa Barbara Zoo, Chapultepec Zoo, San Diego Zoo, Oakland Zoo, The Peregrine Fund, Ventana Wildlife Society, Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Yurok Tribe, and a host of other governmental and nongovernmental organizations.

The Recovery Program is now in the final phase of recovery, focusing on the creation of self-sustaining populations. The Program is placing increased emphasis on the captive-breeding and reintroduction of California Condors to the wild and the management of that wild population. These efforts combine trying to reduce the threat of lead with actively managing nesting in the wild to increase the number of wild-fledged chicks.

The goal of the California Condor Recovery Plan is to establish two geographically distinct self-sustaining populations, each with 150 birds in the wild and at least 15 breeding pairs, with a third population of condors retained in captivity. As the Recovery Program works toward this goal, the number of release sites has grown. There are three active release sites in California, one in Arizona, and one in Baja California, Mexico.

Acknowledgements

The effort to create a livestreaming cam on a wild condor nest could not have happened without the effort, funding, and expertise of a wide consortium of collaborators.