Will you see California condors on your bird watching excursions to Redwood National Park? Not so long ago, the answer would have been ‘no.’ In 1982 the population of California condors known to exist in wild was only 22 individuals. So every bird was trapped in order to save the species from extinction. Today, thanks to the captive breeding programs of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, that number has grown to 560 birds, many of which have been released back into the wild.
Prey-Go-Neesh in Northern California
Prey-Go-Neesh, the Yurok word for California condors, have lived in the northwest corner of California for countless generations. As members of the vulture family, they feed on carrion. And that is why their numbers began to dwindle. You see, hunters shoot deer, wild turkeys, and other prey animals with lead bullets. The condor eats the bullet along with the dead animal and dies too. Lead poisoning is the major cause of death for these mighty birds.
How the Condors Came Back
California condors mate for life and lay one egg at a time. Both parents incubate the egg until it hatches. However, if the egg is lost to breakage or predators soon after being laid, the female condor will lay another egg. This habit is known to biologists as ‘double clutching.’ Biologists take advantage of this behavior by stealing the first egg and allowing it to be raised by others, so the mated pair will produce a second egg.
You Might See Prey-Go-Neesh
Although California condors are still critically endangered, they are being released back to their habitat in the forest and beginning to breed in the wild. So, will you spot one of these majestic birds whose wing span is nearly 10 feet swooping through the giant redwoods? Bring your camera. Today’s answer might be ‘yes.’
California Condors and Redwood Trees
Emerald Forest Cabins and RV has every forest adventure you can imagine, including the possibility of seeing condors when you take a little jaunt to Redwood National Park – it’s only 18 miles away via US 101. Book your stay at Emerald Forest and bring your camera to catch a California condor!