California Condor

Location: Hutton's Bowl, Los Padres N.F.

Camera Host: US Fish and Wildlife Service

Find more about Weather in Hopper Mountain NWR, CA

October 14, 2018

All Three Condors Take Off In Succession

Enjoy this family moment from the California Condor cam when the condors take off over the canyon one after another in Hutton's Bowl. Fledgling #923 follows his parents' lead with a steady flight after mom (wearing yellow tag #289) and dad (wearing blue tag #374) flap their enormous wings and fly out of view of the camera.  

October 14, 2018

California Condor Family Spreads Their Wings In The Sun

The family that suns together stays together! Watch the California Condors spread their wings in succession after the sun peeked through the clouds in Hutton's Bowl. Sunbathing may serve primarily to dry feathers prior to flight, but researchers suggest it may also aid in thermoregulation and reduction of feather deformations. 

October 09, 2018

Condor Fledgling #923 Makes Long Flight To Unexplored Territory

It looks like all that practicing has payed off! Watch #923 make a steady, sustained flight from the top of a rock to some previously unexplored territory in the canyon of Hutton's Bowl. This flight was a long one for the young condor, but it pales in comparison to the longs bouts of soaring that adult condors exhibit when taking wing in search of food.  

October 14, 2018

California Condor Family Spreads Their Wings In The Sun

The family that suns together stays together! Watch the California Condors spread their wings in succession after the sun peeked through the clouds in Hutton's Bowl. Sunbathing may serve primarily to dry feathers prior to flight, but researchers suggest it may also aid in thermoregulation and reduction of feather deformations. 

October 14, 2018

All Three Condors Take Off In Succession

Enjoy this family moment from the California Condor cam when the condors take off over the canyon one after another in Hutton's Bowl. Fledgling #923 follows his parents' lead with a steady flight after mom (wearing yellow tag #289) and dad (wearing blue tag #374) flap their enormous wings and fly out of view of the camera.  

October 09, 2018

Condor Fledgling #923 Makes Long Flight To Unexplored Territory

It looks like all that practicing has payed off! Watch #923 make a steady, sustained flight from the top of a rock to some previously unexplored territory in the canyon of Hutton's Bowl. This flight was a long one for the young condor, but it pales in comparison to the longs bouts of soaring that adult condors exhibit when taking wing in search of food.  

October 03

It's A Boy! Condor Chick #923's Sex Revealed During Live Q&A

Condor researchers Nadya Seal Faith and Molly Astell shared a few enlightening facts from condor chick #923's 120-day nest check. First and foremost, the DNA test results revealed that #923 is a male! The experts went on to share that #923's lead levels in his blood were low, and that he weighed over 18 pounds at the time of the nest entry—what a whopper! Things are looking promising for the Hutton's Bowl chick as he continues to look and behave like a healthy young condor.  

October 03

Watch Q&A With Condor Researchers On Condor Cam!

Watch this archived version of a live Q&A session with Condor researchers Nadya Seal Faith from the Santa Barbara Zoo and Molly Astell form the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as they discuss all things condors. These condor experts talk about everything from the intricacies of the California Condor Recovery Program to setting up cameras in wild condor nests, and they reveal the sex of the Hutton's Bowl condor chick. Check out the color of Nadya's shirt for a hint!  More...

August 31

New View From Across The Canyon On The Condor Cam!

We’re excited to share news that through the hard work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service & the Santa Barbara Zoo we’re able to see the condor cave from a new perspective—the cross-canyon cam! Click the "View 2nd Camera Angle" button underneath the live feed to watch!  

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 Hutton’s Bowl nest, is located in the Los Padres National Forest, near Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. The parents of the chick in the Hutton’s Bowl nest are mom #289 and dad #374. Both parents were hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo. Dad #374 hatched in 2005 and mom #289 hatched in 2002. This is their first nesting attempt together but both parents have had previous mates. Condor #374 first nested in 2012 and has had two previous mates and a total of three nests prior to 2018. Each of his prior nests fledged a chick. Condor #289 began nesting in 2008 with a total of 5 prior attempts with three previous mates. She successfully fledged one chick.

The single egg was laid on February 7, 2018. After 58 days of incubation, the chick hatched on April 6, 2018.

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.