Welcome to Ventana Wildlife Society's Condor Sanctuary. Located two miles east of the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, California, the sanctuary is surrounded by pristine US Forest Service lands, which are visible in the background. Ventana Wildlife Society has been releasing captive-bred condors to Big Sur, California since 1997. We use live-streaming webcams to monitor Endangered California Condors at our sanctuary and, when possible, at active wild nests along the central California coast. Occasionally, still-born calf carcasses are provided to the condors as a clean (non-lead) food source to help reduce the threat of lead poisoning, the number one condor threat. Biologists use the cams as a tool to help monitor the flock and track nesting success. You will see the most condor action from late morning to early afternoon. If you see a condor, visit www.condorspotter.com to help identify that individual using the wing tag color and number. While viewing, you may get lucky and also see a variety of other species such as mountain lions, bobcats, black-tailed deer, golden or bald eagles, ravens, or bluebirds. A special thanks to Explore.org for sponsoring Condor Cam and to Pacific Gas & Electric Company for support in the field through their avian protection program.
HOW WILL I KNOW SOMETHING EXCITING IS HAPPENING ON THE CAMS?
The more you watch, the more likely you will not miss something exciting. However, we will often post updates on our Facebook page and on our Twitter feed when exciting events are happening on the cams.
HOW DO THE CAMERAS HELP CONDORS?
Ventana Wildlife Society's biologists use these cameras as a field management tool to monitor the survival and health of wild condors. Throughout the day, we remotely move the camera view to areas of greatest activity and identify as many condors as we can. Data we record using the camera can be used for survival analyses that will help determine self-sustainability of the population. Also, the camera allows us to keep track of each individual more often than we could otherwise, and with less disturbance. By observing their natural behavior, we can identify early signs of an injury or illness, should they occur. This information helps us provide prompt treatment when needed.
WHY ARE THE CONDORS WEARING WING TAGS?
The color/number wing-mounted tags allow us to identify individual condors in the field (see http://www.condorspotter.com). In addition, all captive -reared condors that we release are fitted with wing-mounted radio and/or GPS transmitters, which biologists use to track movements in the wild. The timing of tagging for wild-reared chicks varies nest to nest and depends greatly on the accessibility of the nest. When feasible, we tag them in the nest before they fledge. When not, we wait until they leave the nest to tag them with the other condors at our trap site. So there are short periods of time when untagged chicks can be seen in the wild. The tags and transmitters are essential monitoring tools to our everyday condor work. We can study condor movement patterns and identify new places where they feed, roost, and nest. By learning where they feed, for example, we can identify sites where they might be exposed to lead (and where non-lead ammunition outreach efforts should focus). They also help us immensely in the unfortunate situation of needing to locate a deceased condor and determining how it may have died. We consider the use of these tags to be temporary; we envision a future self-sustaining condor population that will not require tags.
HOW DO I FIND OUT MORE ABOUT EACH CONDOR?
For more information about individual condors, visit My Condor.
Condor Cam Highlights
Condor Cam Sponsor - Explore is a multimedia organization that documents leaders around the world who have devoted their lives to extraordinary causes. Explore maintains a library of more than 250 original films and a website featuring live-feed wildlife and nature cameras from all over the world.