Because it might be missed in the comment section of my blog on the History Spotlight on the Condors, and because it is such a happy occurrence, I decided to reproduce Joe’s comment in its entirety here. Good job, Joe!
Thanks for posting the news about our missing condor, #204. I have good news to report on his status…he was finally captured down in southern California at Hopper Mountain Wildlife Refuge (near Fillmore, CA)in mid April.
He disappeared from Big Sur in early April shortly after we noticed a major decline in his health. I immediatley alerted Big Sur residents that live in the vicinity of his nesting territory to keep on the lookout for a sick condor. We attempted to capture him near one of his night-time roost spots, but he was still strong enough to elude us and then he went completely off the radar. A volunteer took me up in his airplane to track 204’s radio signal, but nothing…we flew all the way down to SLO and back up the coast.
A few days later we recieived a call from our partners in So Cal (US Fish and Wildlife Service, who I had alerted as well) that 204 had arrived at their condor release site. The last time 204 flew to that site was 4 years ago, which caught me by surprise, but I always knew it was a possibility. He was so lethargic in Big Sur I didn’t think he had the strength to make the 250 mile flight, but he did it…really amazing. He was captured the following day and is now recovering at Los Angeles Zoo.
It appears he sustained two injuries to his wings, which he may have been inflicted during an attack by a Golden Eagle. One of his injuries was a puncture wound that went completely through his wing, most likely from the talon of an eagle. The injuries made him more vulnerable to the flock and likely caused him to be singled out. If your a dominant male that is injured, you become a target for lower ranking males. I witnessed this firsthand and believe this directly led to his poor health and emaciation…the less dominant birds wouldn’t let him feed. He continues to do well at the Zoo and we plan to re-release him later this month.
A big Thanks to the community for keeping an eye out for Big Sur’s wildlife, they really need us to be their protectors. Great spotlight story on the condor…check out our monthly field notes for updates on the Big Sur condor flock. fieldnotes
Cheers, Joe Burnett- Ventana Wildlife Society