Birds of Prey helps the California Condor recover in the Redwood Forest

World Center provides 2 condors for recovery effort
World Center sends two condors to California recovery effort
Posted at 5:31 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-26 19:31:27-04

Boise's own World Center for Birds of Prey is helping save another critically endangered bird.

First, they helped save the Peregrine Falcon. Now they're helping reintroduce the California Condor to the Redwood Forest.

The condors disappeared from northern California about 100 years ago. They were eating carrion that was contaminated with lead and essentially died from lead poisoning. Now they're making a comeback — thanks in no small part to the world center for Birds of Prey.

The California Condor might have a face only a mother can love, but they're majestic flyers, and a key indicator of a healthy ecosystem. When two young birds from Birds of Prey started soaring above the California Redwoods in May, it was a big deal.

"Of course, we're interested in healthy ecosystems, not just because it benefits the condor but because it benefits us all." says Chris Parish, CEO and President of the Peregrine Fund.

Birds of Prey not only provided two birds for release, but also a mentor bird to show the youngsters the ropes.

"This mentor bird is kind of a surrogate adult that's put into the cage with them prior to release so they have that experience with that different age class," said Parish.

In the wild, the birds usually leave the nest at six months, but mentoring takes about six months longer.

They do it to make the birds self sustaining in the wild. But even a mentor bird cannot teach condors to avoid what birds of prey found was their biggest enemy, unseen lead poisoning left behind by hunters bullets.

"That bullet tends to shed some of it's weight and it leaves some fragments in the area we target," said Parish.

The remaining carcass or gut pile has enough lead contamination to lead to kill the condors.

The World Center's conservation effort is all about education and they want hunters to know the best thing they can do to preserve the wilderness is not use lead bullets. If they do, make sure to remove any carcasses so scavengers like the condor don't end up eating contaminated meat.