California Condor

CarolM

San Bernardino, United States

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Artist's Description

The largest flying bird in North America, the California Condor is one of the most endangered birds in the world. It is a superb glider that covers enormous distances each day. Wing spans can reach 91/2 feet and adults weigh about 22lbs. They lay one single egg that is incubated by both parents for about 56 days. Both parents feed and care for the chicks. The chicks first flight is at 6 to 7 months but they are still dependent on their parents until about one year old. Young condors do not breed until they are six to eight years old, about the time they acquire full adult coloration. California condors are scavengers. They eat 3 to 4 lbs at once and may not feed again for many days. They will eat dead animal carcasses of large animals such as deer, cattle and marine mammals.

In 1987, all nine remaining wild condors were captured. A captive breeding program has been successful in producing young, and condors have been reintroduced into the mountains of southern California north of the Los Angeles basin, in the Big Sur vicinity of the central California coast, and near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. As of July, 2008 the official count is 332 condors, with the largest wild populations located in California, Utah and Arizona. 152 of these birds are living in the wild. Others are in captivity at the Los Angeles Zoo, San Diego Wild Animal Park, and the World Center for Birds of Prey, and captive-hatched condors released into Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties in southern California. At present, sufficient remaining habitat exists in California and in southwestern states to support a large number of condors, if density independent mortality factors, including shooting, lead poisoning, and collisions with man-made objects, can be controlled. Also, the possibility of eventual genetic problems, resulting from the species’ recent perilously low population size, cannot be discounted.

Artwork Comments

  • jansnow
  • CarolM
  • Antanas
  • CarolM
  • fotosrphun
  • CarolM
  • Katey1
  • CarolM
  • Nancy Stafford
  • CarolM
  • navybrat
  • Cora Wandel
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