06 September, 2010

It Would Be A Stretch to Call Them Beautiful . . .

The California Condor is one of North America'...Image via Wikipedia

But it wouldn't be fair to call them totally ugly.

They may not be the prettiest creatures in the animal kingdom . . .

But they do us a service.

They may not look the nicest, or sound the greatest . . .

But they're definitely fascinating.

Their appearances are dark and moody . . .

But that doesn't mean they're cruel.

They may not eat what's considered delicate fare . . .

But at least someone's eating it.

I'm talking about . . .

The Californian Condor, or Gymnogyps Californianus.

The bird that was on the verge of extinction in 1987, with only 22 left, due to poaching, habitat destruction, and poisoning. The few that remained alive were captured and bred in the Sand Diego Wild Animal Park and the Los Angeles Zoo.

Until, in 1991, the numbers were up sufficiently to return the condors to the wild.

Currently, there are only 384 known, only 188 of those living out of captivity.

A real Condor moment...Image by law_keven via Flickr

Did you know that their heads change color depending on their emotions?

A Californian Condor in flight, photographed f...Image via Wikipedia

Did you know that their wingspan is almost 10 feet?

Did you know that they're mostly mistaken as small, far-off airplanes, as opposed to another species of bird?

Did you know that contrary to a lot of birds, the male is actually bigger than the female?

Did you know that they live in oakland savannas, coniferous forests, and scrubland?

I don't see why so many people don't like scavengers and carrion-eating birds such as the condor. Yes, they search for corpses.

But they don't actively fly over animals they think are going to die.

Yes, they stick their heads in those corpses.

But that's why they're bald.

Yes, they swallow bones and pick off of someone else's meal.

But they don't actually kill their food to get it.

And would we prefer it if the dead animals just stayed there to rot and decay, either by the side of the road or wherever the animal was killed? Isn't having someone benefit off of those bones and meat a good thing?

Love the condors, people. They're cool birds.

-----The (condor-appreciating) Golden Eagle
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The Words Crafter said...

I didn't know their wingspan was 10 feet! Cool! We have lots and lots of hawks where we live. I love just watching them play. They'll catch a wind current and just circle, climbing back up when they coast low. I would love to see a condor in flight.

Can you imagine the mess if some kind of animal didn't clean up all the dead things lying around?

Garbage men are severely undervalued. If we didn't have them, disease would run rampant in very little time. I'm thinking it's a very similar thing with carrion birds.

Jen said...

Wow, they look amazing. I know they aren't the cutest things, but they are just as interesting and magical as anything else with wings.

Every animal serves a purporse and I believe every animal is beautiful in their own right, cleaning up the dead is something I consider a help to mankind, or this would be a dirty, dirty world.

The Golden Eagle said...

The Words Crafter: I know! I love watching birds fly.

Definitely. Garbage pickup is a dangerous and extremely helpful job, and people tend to think of it as a bad thing.

Jen: Exactly!

Very dirty. There would many more dead things hanging around if birds such as these didn't help out by eating it.

Kenzy said...

My brother got to see one of these when he went to the Sand Diego Zoo with my dad. He said they were his new favorite bird! I think they're pretty darn cool. :D

The Golden Eagle said...