MyCondor.org gets cozy with the endangered scavengers.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Sunrays lit up the lupine-and-poppy-splashed hillside, a wild woolen scarf of orange and purple on a March afternoon. Big Sur’s Separation Ridge slid into a slate-blue sea, which dissolved into a sky as clear blue as the eyes of the baby girl toddling giddy in the flowers.
A condor looped overhead, lingering as if posing for a picture, transmitters and the numbers 06 attached to its wings. I wondered about its story.
Now it’s online: The Pinnacles National Monument website identifies it as Condor 306. She hatched at a San Diego zoo six years ago, was released 17 months later, has a younger brother and can be a bit of a loner, though she made a best friend in the flight pen.
Along with the 21 condors profiled on the Pinnacles site, Ventana Wildlife Society’s MyCondor.org tells the stories of the 27 birds in the Big Sur flock, each with its own nickname. The website, launched this month, aims to introduce the public to characters in a bigger story: the ongoing, multi-agency campaign to bring the species back from the brink of extinction.
“[VWS] has been directly working with these condors for 12 years and we know the personalities for each of them,” VWS Executive Director Kelly Sorenson says. “They live so long, sometimes over 50 years, so you could follow one of these birds for decades.”
The brand-new site is part of a series of Internet features VWS has recently undertaken, including a new blog, YouTube videos, a Flickr photostream, e-mail alerts, a VWS Facebook group, and a Facebook page for the fictional Theodore Condor, who already has nearly 400 friends.
His favorite activities: “flying, eating dead animals, nesting in cavities, hanging out with friends, preening my feathers and bathing.”