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 for the season. Now that the wildfires in Southern California have died down, condor biologists at the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge were given the all clear to check up on condor chick #871 and the adults at the Devils Gate. We are happy to report that the team saw both adults and picked up a healthy signal from #871's transmitter near the Devils Gate nest site, which suggests that #871 has likely fledged and has become the newest member of the free flying California Condor flock in Southern California! Biologists will continue to monitor #871 as she gets older to make sure she is healthy and has the best chance at surviving in the wild, and we will provide updates on the young condor as they come. We'd like to thank all of our cam partners and extend a special thanks to all of our viewers who watched along with us during this successful roller-coaster of a breeding season on the Condor cam!

Find more about Weather in Hopper Mountain NWR, CA

February 05, 2018

Surviving Devils Gate: 2017 California Condor Cam Highlights

Peer into the lives of one of the worlds most majestic endangered species on the California Condor cam, and relive the events 2017's harrowing breeding season from the rocky ridges of the Devils Gate nest.  

January 04, 2018

Healthy #871 Spotted In Devils Gate Area

Great news coming from the US Fish and Wildlife Service this week! Condor chick #871 was spotted in the Devils Gate area during a recent hike out near the nesting site. Reports indicate that the chick is doing well and looks healthy despite having a few singed tips on her primary feathers. The circumstances surrounding her fledging are unknown, but her singed wingtips indicate that she may have had close contact with the wildfires in the area at some point in the past few weeks. The feather damage isn’t expected to hinder her flight ability moving forward. Thanks to our partners at the Fish and Wildlife Service and Santa Barbara Zoo for the update. Photo credit: Stephanie Herrera, USFWS volunteer. 

January 02, 2018

Condor Cam Season Ends With Encouraging News From Devils Gate After California Wildfires!

Now that the wildfires in Southern California have died down, Condor Biologists at the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge were given the all clear to make a check up on condor chick #871 and the adults at the Devils Gate. We are happy to report that the team was able to pick up a healthy signal from #871's transmitter near the Devils Gate nest, and both parents were also seen flying near the nest area. These indicators suggest that #871 has likely fledged and has become the newest member of the free flying California Condor flock in Southern California! Biologists will continue to monitor #871 as she gets older to make sure she is healthy and has the best chance at surviving in the wild. We will continue to provide updates on the young condor as they come. Thanks for watching along with us on the Condor cam during this successful roller-coaster of a condor breeding season in Devils Gate! See this Facebook post from our partners at the Condor Cave for the full update. More...

February 05, 2018

Surviving Devils Gate: 2017 California Condor Cam Highlights

Peer into the lives of one of the worlds most majestic endangered species on the California Condor cam, and relive the events 2017's harrowing breeding season from the rocky ridges of the Devils Gate nest.  

January 02, 2018

Condor Cam Season Ends With Encouraging News From Devils Gate After California Wildfires!

Now that the wildfires in Southern California have died down, Condor Biologists at the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge were given the all clear to make a check up on condor chick #871 and the adults at the Devils Gate. We are happy to report that the team was able to pick up a healthy signal from #871's transmitter near the Devils Gate nest, and both parents were also seen flying near the nest area. These indicators suggest that #871 has likely fledged and has become the newest member of the free flying California Condor flock in Southern California! Biologists will continue to monitor #871 as she gets older to make sure she is healthy and has the best chance at surviving in the wild. We will continue to provide updates on the young condor as they come. Thanks for watching along with us on the Condor cam during this successful roller-coaster of a condor breeding season in Devils Gate! See this Facebook post from our partners at the Condor Cave for the full update. More...

January 04

Healthy #871 Spotted In Devils Gate Area

Great news coming from the US Fish and Wildlife Service this week! Condor chick #871 was spotted in the Devils Gate area during a recent hike out near the nesting site. Reports indicate that the chick is doing well and looks healthy despite having a few singed tips on her primary feathers. The circumstances surrounding her fledging are unknown, but her singed wingtips indicate that she may have had close contact with the wildfires in the area at some point in the past few weeks. The feather damage isn’t expected to hinder her flight ability moving forward. Thanks to our partners at the Fish and Wildlife Service and Santa Barbara Zoo for the update. Photo credit: Stephanie Herrera, USFWS volunteer. 

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.