Courtesy of the Yurok Tribe
California condor A4 in the enclosure.
Northern California Condor Restoration Program team members are calling off today's attempt to release two additional birds out into the wild for safety reasons due to the late hour.
"In order to allow time for newly released condors to find adequate perches safely after tenuous first flights, we prefer for them to have plenty of time between release and sunset," a NCCRP representative stated on the Yurok Condor Live Feed message board around 3:30 p.m. "It is getting a bit short now for any new bird without honed flight capabilities to leave the pen, take a shakey first flight, crash-land somewhere, and still be able to flap or walk to a spot where they can find safe accessible roosting off the ground. Considering that, we are calling off the release for today."
The note adds: "Sorry for the delay, but we are all on condor-time now. Thanks for tuning in."
The next release attempt is set to gear up around 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and will be available for viewing on the Yurok condor cam, which can be found here. Yurok Wildlife Department Director Tiana Williams-Claussen will also be providing real-time commentary on the release via Facebook Live, which can be viewed here.
According to an earlier note from a NCCRP representative, the program — a partnership between the Yurok Tribe and Redwood National and State Parks, which plans to reintroduce one cohort of prey-go-neesh to the region every year for at least the next two decades — "will target A4 an A5 for release."
The two birds are part of a cohort of four — currently known as A4, A5, A6 and A7 — that arrived on the North Coast in mid-August. The rest are set to follow over the next month.
"We have been monitoring the release candidates closely and feel that a strong hierarchy has developed. Often, birds lower on the hierarchy do well to spend more time with mentors to develop social skills needed to integrate with larger, more complex flocks," the note states. "At this time, we see A7 and A4 vying for the top spot, followed by A5 and finally A6 as the most subordinate bird. Because of this, we would target A7 and A4 for release."
The note goes on to state that "A7 needs to see the doctor" so the birds targeted for release will be A4 an A5, adding that "A6 will likely do well with a little one on one time with 746 to bolster his confidence."
Once out, the condors will join four others — Ney-gem' 'Ne-chween-kah (She carries our prayers, A0), Hlow Hoo-let (Finally, I/we fly A1), Nes-kwe-chokw' (He returns/arrives, A2) and Poy'-we-son (The one who goes ahead, “leader” A3) — that took their historic flights in May and July, becoming the first of massive birds with a nearly 10-foot wingspan to do so locally in more than a century.
According to a Yurok Tribe news release, those first four are “thriving in the redwood region.”