Call it the Real Condors of Los Padres. Thanks to a webcam installed earlier this year near the nest cave of a pair of California condors, YouTube viewers can now watch the intimate social activities of a family of California’s biggest bird.
These endangered Condors nest in caves on cliff faces, and pairs will sometimes use the same nest year after year. This pair currently using the Los Padres National Forest nest, known as the Devil’s Gate Nest and located near Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, began at the site during their first nesting attempt in 2015. The webcam runs year round.
“Webcam viewers will see the rich social interactions of these intelligent birds, such as the two adults sharing parental duties, and their interactions with each other and the chick,” said Dr. Estelle Sandhaus, director of conservation and research at the Santa Barbara Zoo. “Condor chicks actually engage in ‘play,’ by pouncing on and grabbing feathers and sticks, for instance. It’s a thrill to watch the chick grow, learn, and play under the watchful eyes of its dedicated parents.”
The nest contains one chick, which hatched on April 11, 2017, and was assigned the number #871. The father hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo in 1999 and was release into the wild Hopper Mountain in 2000. The mother hatched at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho in 2009 and was released at Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge in 2010. This is the pair’s third attempt at nesting together. The two previous attempts were unsuccessful.
Condors almost went extinct in the 1980s, when the population fell to just 22 birds. Thanks to protection efforts, their are now more than 270 free-flying birds in California, Arizona and Mexico’s Baja California region.