• Big-berry manzanita and the skyline of the high peaks greet visitors who explore the steep and narrow portion of the High Peaks trail. NPS Photo|Sierra Willoughby

    Pinnacles

    National Park California

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    On Saturday April 19 and Sunday April 20, All National Parks including Pinnacles will waive entrance fees. In addition, Western National Park Association Sales in visitor centers of the park will be discounted by 15%

Profiles of the Pinnacles Condors

Pinnacles Condor 310

310
This condor hatched on 5/11/03 at the LA Zoo. In the flight pen, 310 perched away from all the other birds and usually fed once the others had finished. However, upon release in 2004, she quickly came into her own and rapidly ascended the dominance hierarchy. Now, 310 is arguably the most dominant condor at Pinnacles and with her GPS transceiver continues to expand the known range of Pinnacles condors. As one of the oldest birds in the flock, she has been observed participating in breeding behaviors and successfully nested in the wild in 2010 with Big Sur male, 219. Their nestling is 574 and is managed by Ventana Wildlife Society.

 
Pinnacles Condor 317

Copyright Gavin Emmons 2008

317
Hatched on 5/26/03 at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, condor 317 is the older sibling of 330. In the summer of 2008, 317 was trapped for routine health checks and was found to have an extremely high blood lead level. She had to be transported to the LA Zoo where she underwent chelation treatment. 317 is faring better now, once again flying in the wild and has paired with the Big Sur released male 318 and in February, 2010 laid the first condor egg seen inside Pinnacles National Park since 1898. The nest later failed and she and her mate had nesting attempts in 2011 and 2012 as well. Sadly, she lost her mate, condor 318 due to lead poisoning at the end of 2012. We hope that she will find a new mate in the future and continue to be a dominate, breeding member of our flock.

 
Condor 330

330
A younger sibling of 317, condor 330 hatched on 4/19/04 at the San Diego Wild Animal Park. Of the 2005 cohort, condor 330 is one of the most dominant. 330 often feeds simultaneously with the older birds, is one of the largest birds in the flock and is known to fight back when confronted. 330 has taken to being a difficult bird to trap, he is elusive and enjoys spending time in the far reaches of San Benito County.

 
340 with egg

Condor 340 with egg laid by his mate 444

NPS Photo by Gavin Emmons 2013

340
Upon arrival at the Pinnacles flight pen, 340 was by far the most active and aggressive juvenile. Perhaps he was aware of his distinction in being the first chick produced by the Oregon Zoo, where he hatched on 5/9/04. After a brief lull in activity immediately following his release, 340 started to expand his range and quickly ascended the dominance hierarchy.

He has been outfitted with a GPS tag and took a flight to southern California, within 50 miles of the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge condor release site. His continued exploratory flights make him a bird valued within the flock for his ability to lead others to new areas. During the winter of 2013, he began courting Big Sur condor 444. She has the distiction of being the first successful wild fledged condor in the central California flock. She hatched from the wild nest of condors 167 and 190 in 2007. We feel 340 has made a great choice in a mate and they are currently nesting within Pinnacles.

 
Condor 351

351
Similar in age to 340 and 345, condor 351 hatched on 5/28/04 at the LA Zoo. 351 seems to have a talent for finding carcasses outside the park. 351 is often the first bird at the feeding site and occasionally is also the last to leave. It comes as no surprise that he is also one of the largest condors of the flock. Along with 345 he was one of the last to be released in 2005, and spends much of his time on the Big Sur coast.

 
Condor 400

Copyright Gavin Emmons 2008

400
The oldest of the 2007 cohort from the World Center for Birds of Prey (Boise, Idaho), condor 400 hatched on 4/11/06. The only female from this cohort, she and 401 were the first to released in their cohort and began exploring the free world on the same day in April 2007. She has risen in the condor hierarchy as new birds arrive. In 2010, 400 was found to have extremely high levels of lead in her blood. She was taken to the L.A. Zoo where she had surgery to remove a lead fragment. She has since returned to Pinnacles and has rejoined the flock, spending a lot of her time flying between here and the Big Sur coast.

 
Condor 401

401
Another condor hatched by The Peregrine Fund at the World Center for Birds of Prey, 401 cracked out of his shell and emerged into the world on 4/13/06. Condor 401 has the distinction of being the first one from the 2007 cohort to make it to the Big Sur coast and was also first one of the '07 cohort to become a free-flyer.

 
Condor 405

Copyright Gavin Emmons 2008

405
Much of 405's story remains to be written. He hatched on 4/18/06 in Boise, Idaho, made the long journey to Pinnacles in the back of a van, was released in late 2007 and has been exploring the local landscape ever since. He has become another very dominate bird in our flock, often flushing younger condors from carcasses or roosting spots. Along with 330, he has become an elusive bird, spending much of his time outside of the park.

 
Condor 411

411
His hatch date was 4/26/06 at the World Center for Birds of Prey. He is a male from the 2007 cohort. Generally a more submissive bird, he spends the majority of his time inside the park, so it came as a surprise when he was found to have high blood lead levels during the summer of 2008. However, after undergoing intensive treatment he was re-released. 411 has only made it to the Big Sur coast a few times, making him the "homebody" of the flock, enjoying the roosting spots over the Pinnacles campground or in the nearby hills of San Benito County.

 
418
418
She hatched at the LA Zoo on May 10, 2006. 418 acclimated quickly to the Pinnacles flight pen and bulked up from only 14 pounds when she arrived to a healthier weight of 20 pounds. She confidently feeds and socializes with the other juveniles. She was released on December 6, 2006. She has made numerous flights to the Big Sur Coast and is still expanding her range.
 
Condor 431

431
Once acclimated to the Pinnacles landscape in our flight pen, 431 was released in the winter of 2008. 431 is one of the eight condors rescued from the encroaching Big Sur fire that eventually burned the Ventana Wildlife Society flight pen where the condors were first brought to central California. In late June of 2008, a Coast Guard helicopter shuttled the condors (including 431, 438, 448, and 451) out of the Los Padres National Forest as Ventana Wildlife Society biologists made daring trips on an ATV between the pen and the helicopter landing area. National Park Service staff met the Coast Guard and gathered the condors up in a van for transport to Pinnacles.

Although hatched (4/12/07) at the LA Zoo, 431 originated as a wild laid egg in Big Sur. His parents were nesting for the first time so biologists swapped out the egg with a dummy in order to assess their skills at incubation. Later, to ensure genetic diversity in the flock, a separate zoo-laid egg was placed in the nest of parents 168 and 208.

 
438

438
She was released on December 6, 2008 along with 418. 438 was hatched on 4/21/07 at the World Center for Birds of Prey. While in the flight pen, she stayed very close to Hoi, the older mentor bird kept in the pen to help instill appropriate behaviors in the young birds. Once released she stayed close to Pinnacles for only a short time and then made her way to the Big Sur coast where she has enjoyed feeding regularly on sea lions and other marine life that washes up along the coast.

 
Condor 448

448
Also reared at The Peregrine Fund’s facilities in Boise, Idaho, 448 hatched on 5/8/07. One of the more curious birds from the 2008 cohort, 448 was the first to investigate the isolation pens (used to capture condors for health checks) while he was in the facility. He is also the older genetic sibling of 478 from the 2009 cohort.

 
460_web

460
Released on November 29, 2009, 460 is one of two females in the 2009 cohort. 460 was hatched on March 24, 2009 and reared by foster parents at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, ID. She is the lightest weight bird in the 2009 cohort, but still weights in at a healthy 17 lbs. 460 and 463 can be seen regularly feeding alongside one another.

 
463b_web

NPS Photo by Gavin Emmons

463
Hatched at the World Center for Birds of Prey on April 2, 2008 and reared by foster parents, 463 was released into Pinnacles on November 24, 2009. 463 started out as and continues to be the most dominant bird of the 2009 cohort. He sometimes would crowd and push the other juveniles from the “best” perches while in the flight pen. 463 also began feeding before the other birds, with the exception of the adult mentor. Within his first year in the wild he explored most of the territory regularly visited by the Pinnacles flock.
 
481a_web
481
Hatched on April 27, 2008 and reared by foster parents, 481 is only the second Pinnacles bird to be reared in the Oregon Zoo (340 was the first in 2005). 481 started out as a bit of a loner, perching off by herself, but became more social as her time in the flight pen continued. She is a larger juvenile female weighing 19 lbs. She was released during our public released event on September 26, 2009. She too has begun to forage and explore the areas just outside of Pinnacles, and will continue to expand her range.
 
514_web
514
He is the first fledgling from a nest in San Benito County in over 70 years and was fostered from Big Sur female 303 and Pinnacles' male 313's nest. Over the winter of 2009-2010, he slowly expanded his range from the nest, taking short flights with 313. In March, 2010 he left his natal canyon and flew further afield in San Benito County, making it to within the park before April. 514 has established himself as a full member of the central California flock, having made multiple trips across the landscapes of San Benito and Monterey Counties to the Big Sur coast. He enjoys flying with the younger birds we've released in the few years since he fledged.
 
525a

NPS Photo by Gavin Emmons

525
He is the only male in the 2010 cohort. Hatched at the Oregon Zoo on May 4, 2009, he seems to have an independent streak and likes to perch further away from the others in this cohort. He has no siblings amongst the Pinnacles flock. He was released into the wild on November 22, 2010.

 
534

534
She hatched on the 18th of May 2009 at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. She brings the total number of Oregon hatched birds in the Pinnacles flock to four. (joining 340, 481, and 525) 534 does not have any genetic siblings in the Pinnacles' flock. She is a rather curious bird, she was the first juvenile in this group to explore several of the traps and other areas of the flight pen. She was released along with 543 on October 12, 2010. She now enjoys spending her time along the beautiful Big Sur Coast, occasionally stopping in to Pinnacles for a visit.

 
543b

NPS Photo by Gavin Emmons

543
Female hatched from the World Center for Birds of Prey which is run by the Peregrine Fund. She broke out of her shell on May 29, 2009 and was parent-reared. She enjoys spending her time close to her fellow Boise hatchling 547. Along with 525 and 534, 543 also has no siblings in the Pinnacles' flock. 543 was the first of the 2010 cohort to stretch her wings in the wide open spaces of Pinnacles on October 12, 2010.

 
547

547
She is the youngest of the 2010 cohort, having hatched on the 5th of June 2009 at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, ID. She is the lowest ranking of the juveniles in the pen and spends most of her days perched near the adult mentor. 547 is the younger sibling of a couple of our older males, 313 and 332. She was released on November 16, 2010.

 
550

550

Condor # 550 was the nestling from the 2010 condor nest inside the park. Unfortunately, she had to be evacuated due to high levels of lead in her blood. Her lead levels were returned to normal while at the L.A. Zoo and she was finally able to take her first flight in the wild this autumn. Upon release she has become one of the regular condors soaring over the skies of Pinnacles National Park. She has recently taken a flight outside of the park boundaries to further explore the wilds of San Benito County.

 
564

564

A male hatched at the World Center for Birds of Prey on April 17, 2010. He is the younger genetic sibling of 438, a bird released at Pinnacles in 2008. Though he has taken short flights outside of Pinnacles, 564 seems to enjoy spending time soaring over the High Peaks and staying close to the park.

 
589

589

He hatched on June 13, 2010 at the World Center for Birds of Prey. After being released in October 2011, he had a rough few days of being blown by the winds. With the help of slightly older juvenile birds who had been spending time in the park, 589 was able to make it up and out of the park. He has begun exploring more of San Benito county and perches close to his newfound friends.

 
condor 602

NPS Photo 2013

602

A male that hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo on April 10,2011. He is the younger sibling of female condor 481 who briefly assisted the 2013 cohort as a mentor. 602, seems to be the most dominate of the newest releases and he has already integrated well into the flock. Soon after being released on January 30, 2013 he took a short trip out of the park and was able to make it back safely. Currently he enjoys spending time on the Western slopes of the High Peaks.

 
condor 606

NPS Photo 2013

606

A male with a past link to the central coast. 606 was laid by Big Sur condors 168 and 208 due to research being conducted at the time, his egg was swapped with a zoo-laid egg, therefore 606 hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo on April 22, 2011. Upon being released on January 29, 2013 he made the condor biologists' job stress-free by safely perching in a tree and finding food on his first day. He has easily integrated into the flock since then, making regular jaunts into the High Peaks with older birds.

 
condor 626

NPS Photo 2013

626

Another condor hatched at the Portland Zoo joins the Pinnacles' flock. She hatched on May 30, 2011 at the captive facility in Oregon. 626 is the most submissive bird of the 2013 cohort, spending a lot of her time away from the other juveniles in the pen. She is a younger sibling to 588 who died in 2012. We have high hopes that she will follow in the paths of 602 and 606 by incorporating well with our flock after her February 27, 2013 release.

 
 

Did You Know?

Pinnacles bee photo by Keir Morse

Pinnacles National Park has the greatest number of bee species per unit area of any place ever studied. The roughly 400 bee species are mostly solitary; they don't live in hives.