Although today's movie feature is more about the flight of the condor, this critically endangered bird and an important component in the California coastal ecosystem, is facing probably its biggest challenge since it was re-introduced back into the wild in 1991. A fire, sparked by lightening, is raging through prime condor habitat off the Big Sur coastline. It has already burned around 40 square miles of wilderness, and continues to burn.
Earlier this week, staff from Ventana Wildlife Society, with amazing courage and assistance from equally courageous U.S. Coastguard helicopter crew managed to rescue seven young condors and their adult mentor bird from the condor sanctuary (where young condors start their education before being released into the wild). Sadly, the staff learned later that the sanctuary had been burned.
You can follow the progress of the staff and their hopes and fears for the condors who are living wild in that area, and for the condors with chicks in the nest. It is a tense and worrying time for all involved. The work to return this endangered species to the wild has been painstaking and monumental, and our hopes and prayers go out to the birds and all involved in their recovery (including the brave firefighters who are working night and day to control the fire).
Here's a close-up look at these amazing birds at on scenic Highway 1, south of Big Sur