Learning About Condors & Vultures

Learning About Condors & Vultures

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Andean Condor (above)
I watch a lot of old Westerns and you can always count on the scene where the vultures are circling above the guy that was left in the desert to die just before being rescued (sometimes).
I’d like to point out some of the benefits vulture ownership can offer (should you wish to commit a felony). If you have a home on a sizable property -1 acre, 5 acres, 10 acres – a vulture flock will keep it free of any and all debris/vermin/rodents/dead cats. Vultures are nature’s janitors. 

If you look at any vulture, have skin rather than feathers This is for sanitation reasons. Because they stick their heads into the carcasses of dead animals, the skin is easier to keep clean than feathers.

Griffon vultures circling at full moon ~ Video 
Condors, which are also part of the vulture family, are dying of lead poisoning in the western United States by ingesting shotgun lead in the belly of carcasses abandoned by hunters as well as pesticides ingested by the prey.
Should you be in the market for a vulture or pair, I know a guy – his prices for picking up your bird in some African country are published below.
editors note: He takes credits card but we can’t promise he’ll give them back.

As we follow the path of these majestic scavengers of the sky we learned the term “Condor” belongs to two distinct bird species but are both referred to as “New World” vultures 

Although the California condor once dominated the skies of the Northwest pocket of our country,  only 22 California condors could be found by the late 1980s. The small flock was then harvested into captivity in order to create a captive breeding program with the goal of growing the flock once again.
About 10 years later the successful program introduced these birds back into the northern portions of Mexico and California. Ironically a new threat to the condors because of their wingspan is the risk from utility lines and within the captive breeding program, abortion training is taught to help them avoid these man-made risks.
turkey vulture outside on window sill
These big bad boys and girls are big birds by any standards with 10-foot wingspans. 
The other condor species that caught my eye was the Andean Condor which is a South American bird usually seen on the Western side of the Andes. Although not at risk for extinction several zoos have begun breeding programs to make sure these beautiful birds don’t fade from the earth.
Condors like vultures have skin rather than tan feathers on their head for hygiene reasons (as in poking their heads into the cavities of dead carcasses). And if you see a change in the color of their skin change you know their emotions are changing I certainly wouldn’t want to be near one to try to figure it all out. 
These birds can live with their parents for more than a year because it takes around six months for them to learn how to fly and they wait until they’re about six before they begin to start breeding.
Condors are a species of bird that mates for life which could be one of their downfalls because they never try to use any dating services after their mate dies so they end up being single for the rest of their life.
Feathered factoid: Ruppell’s vultures have been reported to be seen at altitudes of 35,000 feet (7 miles) by commercial airline pilots.
Turns out something in their DNA allows their blood to squeeze more O2 out of their blood cells than the average – well anything. 
Some of the biggest threats to condors are because they’re scavengers. They can be poisoned by the animals they prey upon when poisons are found in their bodies.
Poisons are used to control these pests. They could also swallow lead (from guns) from the animal’s bodies they feast upon. This is one of the reasons that California condors are tested for lead poisoning regularly.

Note: As we follow the path of these majestic scavengers of the sky we learned the term “Condor” belongs to two distinct bird species but are both referred to as “New World” vultures.

Amanda V.- CA condors actually seek out and preferentially eat the bits of lead shot left in a carcass, because in the natural world, those would be bone bits and provide the necessary calcium.

This is why so many have succumbed to lead poisoning. And when a mate dies, they will find another mate, if there is another viable adult around.

But much like parrots, they do have to have a good personality match- they will not just go with anyone. NW Vultures are highly intelligent as well (another similarity with parrots, although they have very different social systems).

Catherine Tobsing – Lead is “sweet” tasting so I can see why they would seek it out, so sad. It is largely a myth that some birds will mate for “life”, yes, if they are the type of bird that stays together during the “off” breeding time they will likely stay with their mate, but if one dies, they will mourn a while but will seek a new mate eventually.
I recall a traffic jam once on a highway and it turned out to be a Canada Goose that had been hit by a car and its mate would NOT leave it.
Some people had to stop and ward off the surviving mate in order for others to pull the heavy dead goose off the highway before traffic could move again. I cried then, and am shedding a tear now, even 10 years afterward.
Yes, I mentioned to Mitch that the wings are likely the most beautiful part of a vulture. Certainly the head is usually the last part. In the midwest (Illinois, Indiana) we have the Turkey Vultures (or turkey buzzards) and when they fly, looking up and seeing the underside of their wings is magnificent.
 File under Honey can we get that vulture I’ve always wanted – they’re on sale?
griffon rupells vulture


1 pair Ruppells griffon vulture @ 4500$ (above)
Due to the digital footprint size for the Windy City Parrot Where The Sun Never Sets Empire – if it has to do with exotic birds, it comes across my desktop.
I’m fairly certain that the purchase and importation of any of the species below would be a felony and I would go to prison – that would be sad.
I just thought it was interesting to share with you the going price for vultures (and storks).
Dear Sir/Madam.
It appears that we will not starve for the next few days. We are dealing with all types of birds for exporting so if you are interested please let me know. Please see the pictures of birds in the attachment and see the list of birds I can ship. 
1 pair Lappet-faced vulture@4500$
Should an elephant die in your backyard – problem solved: You’re on your own getting rid of the bones.
3 pairs Saddle-billed stork@3500$
Don’t be fooled by the open bill as, like other storks, these birds lack a vocal apparatus and are essentially mute though they do bill-clap.
1 pair Shoe billed stork for each $15000
It derives its name from its massive shoe-shaped bill. Although it has a somewhat stork-like overall form and has previously been classified in the order of Ciconiiformes, its true affiliations with other living birds are ambiguous.
1 pair Grey crowned crane for each $4500
These cranes are omnivores, eating plants, seeds, grain, insects, frogs, worms, snakes, small fish, and the eggs of aquatic animals. Stamping their feet as they walk, they flush out insects that are quickly caught and eaten.

1 pair Wattled Crane for each $8500

At a height of up to 175 cm (5.74 ft), it is the largest crane in Africa and is the second tallest species of crane, after the Sarus crane.

1 pair Crowned Eagle for each $4500
The crowned eagle is a very large eagle. Measuring from 80 to 99 cm (31 to 39 in) in length,
it is the fifth longest extant eagle in the world.
1 pair Fish Eagle for each $4500
The African fish eagle is a large bird and the female at 3.2-3.6 kg (7-8 lbs), is larger than the male at 2-2.5 kg (4.4-5.5 lbs). This is typical of sexual dimorphism in birds of prey. Males usually have a wingspan of about 2 m (6 feet), while females have a wingspan of 2.4 m (8 feet). The body length is 63–75 cm (25–30 in).
Note how the bird ensures its prey is facing (aerodynamically) forward to assist with the enormous amount of energy necessary to gain altitude.
300 Lesser Flamingos for each @350.00$
editors note: Best front yard lawn ornaments EVER!
300 Greater Flamingos for each $350
200 Bycanistes Bucinator for each $180
100 Tauraco livingstonii for each $ 120
Hard to take your eyes off of them.
200 Helmeted guineafowl for each $110
If you’re looking for a bird that is not very timid, try a guinea fowl.
100 Sacred ibis @350$ each
Who wouldn’t want an Ibis or 2 in their backyard?
300 Columba arquatrix for each $230
editors note: Replace your Chicago street pigeons with a flock of these – Rahm will personally thank you, I promise!
Best regards.
You can’t make this stuff up

Written by Mitch Rezman
Approved by Catherine Tobsing

Mitch Rezman

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