‘They’re chilling’: endangered condors take up residence outside California woman’s home

More than 15 rare birds, whose population is at about 160 in the state, showed up at Cinda Mickol’s home – and they’ve made a mess

Giant California condors are rare – but not at Cinda Mickols’ home.

More than 15 condors, an endangered bird whose population hovers at around 160 in the state and under 500 in the US, have recently taken a liking to Mickol’s house in Tehachapi – and they’ve made quite a mess.

Mickols’ daughter, Seana Quintero, began posting photos of the rowdy guests on Twitter on Tuesday, documenting her mom’s encounters with the creatures.

Over the weekend ~15 California condors descended on my moms house and absolutely trashed her deck. They still haven’t left. It sucks but also this is unheard of, there’s only 160 of these birds flying free in the state and a flock of them decided to start a war with my mom 😭 pic.twitter.com/bZyHsN58Bk

— Seana Lyn (@SeanaLyn) May 5, 2021

She does think this is pretty amazing but also the worst. They don’t have to leave her property but leave the house alone. They keep hanging out on her roof and railings messing with stuff and pooping everywhere. Trees are fine but not the house please 🙏 pic.twitter.com/QhE9XVERZF

— Seana Lyn (@SeanaLyn) May 5, 2021

Quintero explained the birds had arrived on the weekend, and had taken a liking to her mom’s outdoor deck.

“Checked in with mom, they’re still hanging out ominously on one of her trees but thankfully are not on the house at the moment,” Quintero wrote on Wednesday. “She’s reaching out to some condor groups to alert them so they can observe the birds and maybe help keep them off her house.”

The US Fish and Wildlife Service noted on Twitter that Quintero’s mom’s house is located in historic condor habitat, and suggested that Mickols try harmless hazing like shouting and clapping or spraying water.

Mickols indeed sprayed the birds with a hose on Thursday morning, her daughter said, her latest attempt to deal with the impolite guests.

“As of this morning there were a few back on her roof that she gave a ‘shower’ with the hose and now they’re chilling with the rest of the flock on a tree on her property,” Quintero said.

Quintero said the wealth of wildlife in the area is a large reason her mother moved there, but she has gotten more than she bargained for with the condor shenanigans.

“She is in awe of it while also being very annoyed,” Quintero added. “We’re just hoping they start sticking to the trees, she enjoys watching them out there.”

Good morning to everyone especially my mom who gave these two condors on her roof a “shower” this morning with a hose. Now they’re back chilling with the rest of the flock on her tree. Watching. Waiting. Doing condor things pic.twitter.com/dU9NPcsFGd

— Seana Lyn (@SeanaLyn) May 6, 2021

The condor once soared from British Columbia to Mexico, but habitat loss, overhunting and poisoning from hunting ammunition drove them to near extinction. The birds almost vanished in the 1980s. Biologists captured the remaining birds and began a breeding program before ultimately introducing them back to the wild.

Since then, the condor has been reintroduced to southern and central California. Its population has expanded into parts of Utah, Arizona and Baja California in Mexico.

Nine condors were killed in the historic California wildfires of 2020, which burned down a condor sanctuary in Big Sur and an occupied nest. The climate crisis continues to threaten the fragile populations.

In March, the Yurok tribe announced it would reintroduce the bird over its ancestral lands, which encompass large swaths of forest and coastline in northern California and parts of Redwood national park.


Kari Paul and agencies

The GuardianTramp

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