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Monday, February 11, 2008


What did you do today?

I drove down the coast of California, and had not one, not two, but eleven California Condors, nearly extinct not that many years ago, fly directly over my head along the Big Sur coast, not once, but repeatedly. With their 9-foot wingspan, the largest of any bird in North America, they were, to put it mildly, an impressive sight (click to enlarge):

But they didn't just fly, oh no, Two of them perched on a cliff and proceeded to mate!

By the way, I should explain that those small circles on the front edge of both wings that you see in the pictures are number patches; each bird has been tagged and numbered, so that scientists can monitor their progress at being introduced into the wild and re-establishing the species, which in 1987 numbered exactly 22 individuals...in the world. The top picture shows #94 and #36, and that's #94 again on top in the mating picture. I think we can guess who's underneath.

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