Scientists and bird watchers from all over the world can now catch a glimpse into the lives of California condors and their offspring in real time as a team of wildlife conservationists have set up live-streaming web cameras on their nests located in in Big Sur, California.
The project, which was first conceived by employees of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in 2010, is designed to monitor the progress of a pair of endangered California condors designated as condor number 111 and condor number 509.
Condor number 111 is a 21-year-old female bird that has taken part in breeding projects since. It has already produced four surviving offspring that are now included in the condor flock southern California.
Condor number 509 is a six-year-old male that was fledged from a wild condor nest at the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.
The offspring of the two California condors were given the designation of condor number 167 and condor number 190 and were dubbed "Kingpin" and "Redwood Queen" respectively. Both chicks are female and were hatched in May. Experts estimate that the young condors will be ready to fledge in October.
Condor number 111 and condor number 509 have been together since 2006, and they are considered to be the first pair to nest in a redwood tree near the coast.
One of the live-streaming nests can be found at the Ventana Wildlife Society's Condor Sanctuary in central California, while the other is at the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in southern California.
"Now, anyone with an internet connection can not only watch condors at two release sites, but now observe their behavior in wild nests, which is truly extraordinary," Kelly Sorenson, executive director of the Ventana Wildlife Society, said.
The California Condor Recovery Program reached a milestone this year in its effort to rehabilitate endangered species when it established its 19th condor nest in the California wild. The live-streaming nests in the counties of Monterey and Ventura are only two of the wild condor nests that are currently active.
The live-streaming videos of the California condor nests can be viewed at the official websites of the Ventana Wildlife Society and the Oakland Zoo.
The nest webcam project in Big Sur was launched through the technical and financial aid of the Oakland Zoo, HDonTap, Fedex and the Ventana Wildlife Society.