|- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service|
John FitzRandolph reports for The Cambrian:
Close-up live streaming views of a nesting pair of endangered California condors in Big Sur — and their recently hatched chick — are available at www.ventanaws.org/condor_cam.
For the first time, people with Internet connections have the opportunity to observe through a new webcam the behaviors of nesting condors with their chick, hatched in May. The chick is expected to fledge in October.
These adult condors (No. 111 is a 21-year-old female, with four surviving offspring in the wild and No. 509 is a 6-year-old male) were the first pair to nest in a coastal redwood tree, according to Kelly Sorenson, executive director of the Ventana Wildlife Society.
Biologists also use the webcam to monitor the chick and her parents without having to trek out to the tree site and risk disturbing the birds.
California condors were close to extinction in 1987, when the last 22 were captured and an aggressive captive breeding program was launched. Today, 220 of the birds are flying free; about 70 condors fly in the Big Sur and Pinnacles area. Soon, seven juveniles will be released in San Luis Obispo County, in the mountains above San Simeon.