More Condors – Reader’s Photos & Story

In response to my Condor post yesterday, Anne Ashley, of Pfeiffer Ridge sent me some photos and the story of a time in 2008 [ed. note – actually 2000-2001] when the condors came to hang out at her place. Here they are:

5 condors by Anne Ashley

Condors on the roof and window by Anne Ashley

No. 64 by Anne Ashley

And this is what Anne had to say about the experience:

It was really wonderful sitting in a window under them, not 5 ‘ away…
They “walked” on our glass roof over the bed and drove our cats CRAZY! (Cats did not come out from under bed for days!
2 condors pulling a king sized blanket and ottoman cushion (about 3’x2’x6″) out our back door raised a racket. My husband John heard them and chased them off
Our guest house (having some work done) was left open and they tore up insulation, ate large bags of chips, etc etc etc
Ventana Wilderness Society marveling and telling us to spray their bellies with water when they lit on the house as they want them to stay wild/not get too used to people (they say it doesn’t hurt them but they hate it!)
About a year later after more condors had been released we had about 10 of them circling above like a dark cloud for maybe 10 minutes…… John figures it was the elders telling the young’uns “Don’t ever go down there. those people are NUTS!”

And while I am here, Anne has a question and hopes someone can direct her to the appropriate response. She has already contacted the MCSPCA. “We have a bobcat event We have seen him/her 3 times in past 2 weeks (big sur).

Twice he came up to back dolor…. put nose to door (around dawn) and seemed to be looking for breakfast (our cats!).

This morning he got up on our (1 story roof) and terrified everyone by approaching large second story windows (clearly trying to find a way in) …….. then went downstairs to the front of the house, climbed stairs (12 ft rise worth) and ambled/stalked along front deck (25-30’ of glass doors) peering in, sort of pushing on door with his head and terrorizing us/cats

He is a beauty but beyond brazen and we’re not sure if he might be ill, who we should tell…. etc. what do you advise.

We’re on Pfeiffer ridge in big sur…….. no other houses in shouting distance.”

15 thoughts on “More Condors – Reader’s Photos & Story

  1. Birds can be really odd. We have robins at our cabin in Cascade, Idaho that repeatedly try to fly through closed windows. They want to come in and lay an egg on top of my head.

    I have a story I titled “The Condor Fleet of Big Sur”, with photos. I will e-mail in some of the pics, but here is the story in text:
    “On my way to teaching at Pacific Valley School or fishing out of Mill Creek, I often encounter these fascinating birds lounging by the highway between Coast Gallery and Fuller’s Beach. It seems that they are reflecting on a delicious gourmet meal of rotten dead seal carcass, featured on the menu at their favorite restaurant…the sea lion colony beach below at the base of the cliff. One day in June 2007, a particular bird, #40, insisted on perching a bit too close to the roadway. So I attempted to “shoo” that condor to a safer location. At first the condor refused to move. But after a second “shoo” gesture, he extended his wings and took flight, in the process slapping be with a wing, delivering a royal face full of feathers!”

  2. Ok Kate, I put a call into a close friend who is the state trapper for our area down here. I should have a phone number for you soon about that bob cat. Sounds a little to friendly and could be sick. Advice it to avoid it if at all possible. They can be very powerfull. This is not a normal action for them. I will send you an email with a contact number as soon as I get it. If it isn’t sick they most likley will relocate him/her to a safer part of your winderness.

  3. Have no pictures, but I had a close encounter with three condors one time near Lucia where there was a dumpster full of trash and the three condors were ravaging through it all taking what they could! I think that lovely photo that is on the post card sold at Lucia Lodge may have been taken at that time as a photographer came by and asked: Do you know what this is? I said: Yes, the extinct condors are back!

  4. I remember when Anne Ashley contacted us (Ventana Wildlife Society’s Condor Biologists) about the condors landing on her home and mentioning that they had pulled out a rug from their upstairs living room. The actual date this happened was back in 2000/2001 (not 2008). We only had 13 condors in Big Sur at that time and the flock was quite young as a whole (we now have 54!!). I think the oldest condor, #164, was only three years old at the time. We experienced this at a couple other Big Sur homes during this same time frame and we asked residents to spray the condors away with a blast water from a garden hose. Like most people, when the condors arrive, it’s quite awe inspriring and it really takes your breath away to see such a massive bird that close. The only problem with that, like any wildife (Mountain Lion, raccoon, deer) you don’t want to encourage them to stick around and get comfortable near your home, for obvoius reasons. I think BS residents, for the most part, have moved past that and now understand to give condors (and other wildife) a little tough love when they get to curious with our human habitations. Condors are more curious than most wildlife due to their scavenging nature. To them, we’re just another animal inhabitating “their” landscape (sounds familiar, eh!). In general, they will allow you to approach them at different vantage points along highway one, especially if it’s near one of their favorite foraging grounds or a steep cliff, they get quite territorial of their carcasses. They actually may see you as potential competiton for their food. Being scavengers and not predators, they will use their size to intimdate animals (coyotes, bobcats, eagles, even humans if they can) away from a carcass. Many animals use this size strategy to ward off competition. If a coyote calls their bluff, then they will back off, just like they do along highway one. They will hold it as long as they can, but in the end, they will always fly off. If they don’t fly away and actually appear lethargic, then they are probably sick or injured, which is when you call us at 831-624-1202. We have specialized equipment and training to safely capture a condor, please don’t try to attempt this on your own, condors can inflict a serious bite if backed into a corner. Thanks for posting the condor photos and glad to hear all the great feedback. Sorry for the long comment…

  5. Joe, thanks for all the great information about condors. So many of us admire them, but really don’t know much about them – other than they are BIG!!

  6. Joe, THANKS for your ‘long’ comment. I learned some things about Condors from it. And you’ve confirmed my ‘suspicion’ that they are capable of collective conspiring to carry out a plan. Oh yeah. I also like your statements about them seeing ‘us’ as invading their territory–because when you come right down to it–we are!

  7. Very cool! picture indeed all photographs are alluring to me. These birds are becoming rarer for us because of continuing shortening forests and destroying its homes.

  8. I’ve been in the wilds of Alaska for awhile and almost missed these pics. Thanks, as you know, I truly love the birds.
    I actually was down your way in #5 for 3 nights in July. Fantastic weather, but saw no Condors on that trip. First time there in the summer since the early 70’s. Take care.

  9. Amazing..I’m so envious. I saw my first condor at the Grand Canyon three years a go and it made the trip for me. How cool it must be to see them regularly!

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