By Caroline Griffith
The Ventana Wildlife Society, two miles inland from Big Sur, CA, has been releasing and documenting captive-bred condors since 1997. On April 25, 2020, the Big Sur Condor Cam, which is nestled in the redwood tree that is home to condors Kingpin and Redwood Queen, caught the hatching of Condor 1031. Now the public is being asked to submit possible names for this new addition to the family. Viewers can watch this ball of fluff and the new parents in action at https://www.ventanaws.org/condor_cam.html.
Condors on the central coast have been successfully producing wild chicks since 2007. California condors, the largest flying bird in North America with up to a 10 foot wingspan, reach breeding age at 6-8 years and form pair bonds that can last their entire lifetimes. According to the Ventana Wildlife society, which monitors and documents the success of the condors it releases, condors in Central California are now producing nearly as many wild chicks as it releases into the wild every year.
One of the largest threats to condors remains poisoning from lead ammunition, despite legislation banning the use of it within the condors’ range. Locally, the Yurok Tribe, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service are among 16 partners teaming up in an effort to reintroduce condors to Northern California, so we may soon be able to catch a glimpse of these massive scavengers in real life. Until then, the Condor Cam, which documents the sights and sounds both inside and outside of the nest, provides an opportunity to appreciate this sacred bird.
UPDATE: Since going to press, Condor 1031 has been named! Iniko, which is Nigerian for “born during troubled times” was selected from the 500+ names that were submitted. Keep watching the Condor Cam for your chance to help name the next hatchling.