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US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
HOPPER MOUNTAIN NWR: Feeding Sites on Private Lands Encourage California Condor Range Expansion!
Region 8, May 21, 2008
California condors feeding on The Wildlands Conservancy's Wind Wolves Preserve in Kern County, Calif. (Photo: USFWS infrared remote camera)
California condors feeding on The Wildlands Conservancy's Wind Wolves Preserve in Kern County, Calif. (Photo: USFWS infrared remote camera) - Photo Credit: n/a
Califonia condor's soaring and feeding on The Wildland Conservancy's Wind Wolves Preserve, Kern Co. CA. photo taken by remote infrared camera
Califonia condor's soaring and feeding on The Wildland Conservancy's Wind Wolves Preserve, Kern Co. CA. photo taken by remote infrared camera - Photo Credit: n/a

John P. Thompson, Hopper Mountain NWR
California condor recovery program biologists celebrated the whelming success of a new feeding site on the Wind Wolves Preserve in the San Joaquin Valley in early May. Photos taken on the preserve by an infrared camera revealed to biologists that 20 individual condors-more than half of the Southern California wild condor population fed on calf carcasses provided at the site by program staff over a three day period. 

Wind Wolves Preserve, managed by The Wildlands Conservancy, is the largest privately owned preserve on the west coast with 97,000 acres of protected wildlife habitat. Through cooperation of The Wildlands Conservancy with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, two initial areas were established on Wind Wolves as carcass drops for the supplemental pilot-feeding of condors off of refuge lands. Condors quickly keyed in on one of the feeding sites and within a few days, cohorts of both adult and juvenile birds had filled their crops with the carcasses provided at Wind Wolves Preserve.      

Restricted in range partly due to the widespread and harmful effects of lead in the environment, California condors have benefited in the past from the protected habitat provided on select federal lands. The addition of the Wind Wolves Preserve as a partner in critical condor habitat is an asset to the California condor recovery. By continuing new feeding efforts at protected sites across the California condor’s historic range, program biologists hope to effectively return the largest bird in North America to a sustainable and independent state. 

The California Condor Recovery Program has benefited from the partnerships and cooperation of several private organizations. The game camera used to document the condor use at Wind Wolves Preserve was provided by the Santa Barbara Zoo, one of several partners that work directly with the Hopper Mountain NWR Complex on a regular basis to support the recovery of the endangered California condor.         

For more information on the California Condor Recovery Program, please visit the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex website at: http://www.fws.gov/hoppermountain/index.html.    

Contact Info: Scott Flaherty, , Scott_Flaherty@fws.gov