International Vulture Awareness Day is today! All across the globe, zoos and conservation organizations are holding special activities to honor these charismatic and often threatened scavengers. For more information: http://www.vultureday.org/2014/index.php
Slide shows. Our amazing moderator wreness has put together slide shows of condors and other species from various angles and in different lighting to aid with identification. She even highlighted body parts — condor feet anyone? http://goo.gl/Jtg3GV.
Her nice contribution was showcased by the DailyZoo here: http://daily.zooniverse.org/2014/08/26/condor-images-slide-show/
New study. Led by 2 scientists on the Condor Watch science team, a new study investigates and links the illegal shootings of 3 condors: 286 (Black86-2dots), 375 (Black75-3dots and Blue75), 401 (Black01underline and White1). Read it here: http://goo.gl/kZ24dE
Female 444. We were all rooting for 444, a female condor nicknamed “Ventana”. The oldest wild-reared condor in the central California flock, Ventana was badly lead poisoned last month. LA Zookeeper Mike Clark posted this report on his team’s efforts to save her life:
“Latest case of lead poisoning female condor 444. A wild fledged bird from Big Sur clinging to life currently. Just finished her second blood transfusion. At an impossible weight of 10.3 pounds she is a fighter. Unfortunately she has lost most of her appetite and has to have a small amount of food placed in her mouth bit by bit. All hands are on deck for this girl and we won’t give up until she does. Wish us luck.”
Despite their hard work on her behalf, she died on August 26th. At her passing, Ventana Wildlife Society noted “Ventana…was invaluable to the condor recovery effort in that she did not grow up in captivity and was raised in the wild by condor foster parents with minimal human intervention. RIP Ventana.”
Male 125. Earlier in the summer, on July 18, 2014, the southern California flock lost male 125, who died of suspected bobcat predation. At 19 years old, he was a seasoned and successful breeder with a chick in the nest, making his loss particularly difficult. Fortunately, his partner, female 111 has been able to continue to rear their 2014 chick.
Here is a nice writeup on his contributions to condor recovery: http://goo.gl/FT0Wfo.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has a webcam trained on his nest and has posted numerous videos of his charming chick, prompting one condor biologist to assert #condorsarecuterthankittens. See whether you agree here: http://goo.gl/II86MJ, http://goo.gl/o3nvds, http://goo.gl/VMJ3UC, http://goo.gl/cKPyid.
Lead testing. US Fish and Wildlife Service distributed this excellent short video that describes blood lead testing, lead poisoning, and chelation treatment of wild California condors. Look for Condor Watch feeding site photos at 1:51! http://goo.gl/0jClU4
Summer travels. The US Fish and Wildlife Service shared the GPS tracks of condor 567 over a 3-week period. Although this degree of wanderlust is somewhat unusual, the condor’s huge wingspan is custom-made to enable them to range widely in search of food. USFWS notes:
“Check this out! Condor #567, a 4-year old wild-fledged male condor, took a trip on the wild side over a three week period in July – from just north of Los Angeles early in the month to 12 miles south of Livermore in northern California later in the month — sightseeing the Coast range soaring…..“