Saturday, March 5, 2016

California Condor

California Condor
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California USA
Member of the Vulture Family
§A Scarcity of Condors§ (a bit on the nose..)
★Largest North American Bird

~true bird fact~ Truly a creature out of another time, Condors are huge, slow, and long-lived. They thrived 40,000 years ago, when giant mammals roamed the continent. Condors can go weeks without eating, and when they do eat, they can store up to 3 pounds of meat in their crops (bird food-holding organs). Unlike most birds, young Condors stay with their parents for more than a year, and actually take 6-8 to reach full maturity. Overall, one of the longest-lived birds, with a lifespan of up to 60 years. Basically these are bird dinosaurs.

How endangered are they? Very much so. The California Condor is critically endangered. As of 1987, there were only 27 birds left. Dramatic action was necessary, and they were all taken into captivity to attempt a breeding program. It's slow and laborious work, partly because female condors only nest once a year, and sometimes not even that much, and partly because birds take so long to reach maturity. In 1991, Condors began to be released back into the wild. As of today there are 425 birds alive, full stop. Only 219 of them are wild, making them one of the world's rarest birds. This means that I've now seen a little more than 1% of all the wild California Condors.

Heavy emphasis on family life
Superstitious. Uses folk medicine
Like most vultures, has a strong stomach, literally and metaphorically

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