The Epic Saga of the California Condor — Majestic survivor over millennia, perpetually endangered by human actions

  • [Kelli Walker photo, courtesy Oregon Zoo]

    [Kelli Walker photo, courtesy Oregon Zoo]

By Patric Hedlund and Marcy Axness, TME

Have you seen one yourself, soaring wild across the sky?

Look up when you are in these mountain passes. It will appear suddenly, silently, soaring effortlessly across towering 15,000 foot thermals, gliding without flapping its wings, surfing gracefully across the sky on its nearly 10-foot-wide wingspan.

As you watch, suddenly your mind is slipping through that majestic rip in time to bypass conscious thought.

The largest flying bird in North America will sweep your heart with it into the Pleistocene era, soaring beyond time, as their ancestors did 100,000 years ago.

Through the eyes of the giant California condor, the …(please see below to view full stories and photographs)

Photo captions:

Ventana Wildlife Society’s Big Sur sanctuary was destroyed by the Dolan fire last August 2020, set by an arsonist. Nine condors and two chicks in the nest died, a ‘devastating’ loss to condor conservationists.

This condor chick at the Portland Zoo captive breeding center needed help out of its egg. After 24 hours in the ICU, it was placed into a clean, sterilized eggshell. The top is about to be put on, and the egg surreptitiously placed back into the nest when the condor parents aren’t looking. This chick ‘hatched’ immediately, of course, and the parents were none the wiser. This year nine new eggs have already been laid, leading scientists to feel optimistic about the breeding program. Now the Manzana Wind Power company is subsidizing an additional personnel position at the Oregon Zoo’s breeding program facility, to help with the reclamation program for the California condor.

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This is part of the February 26, 2021 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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