A couple of weeks ago I was in the gift shop of the Page Museum in LA, looking for a little something for my niece, when I noticed a basket full of plush condors. they were rather nice, with their red heads and floppy wings. I flipped a condor over and, oh no, the white pattern was all wrong, it was the white pattern of a turkey vulture. Then I looked at the tag and it said, in fact, “turkey vulture”.
You can never fool Wild Republic.
When I first went to Big Sur, I could not tell a black vulture from a condor, I didn’t even know turkey vultures existed. Very conscious of my ignorance, I headed for the Ventana Discovery Center in the Andrea Molera State Park, where a very kind guy showed me photos, silhouettes, pointed at good places on the map and waved his arms enthusiastically. He also recommended to watch out for people pulling off abruptly and dashing out the car to look up at massive black things in the sky.
The Ventana Wildlife Society is involved in an amazing project for the reintroduction and recovery of the California condor.
This is the Condor Spotter.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see a condor (although I’m not sure about huge black vulture I saw from an impossible distance while hiking in the Andrea Molera Park), but I definitely saw several turkey vultures and I am now a skilled watcher thanks to the Ventana guy.
Next time, hopefully, the number of condors will have increased, and maybe I’ll be able to see one. I’m sure Jack Kerouac would want me to.