Watch California Condors in Their Nests, Live For The First Time

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors

Sept. 9, 2015

People around the world now have the unprecedented opportunity to observe nesting California Condors and their young chicks in real time via live-streaming webcams located at two California locations. This week you’ll also read about the continued growth of women’s participation in hunting, and much more!

First Live-Streaming Views of Wild Condor Nests
Biologists recently installed webcams in two California Condor nests located in the rugged terrain of California’s Ventura and Monterey counties to enable the public to watch California Condor chicks and their parents.The webcams were placed near the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge and at the Ventana Wildlife Society’s Condor Sanctuary in Big Sur along the central California coast.“What started out as a way for biologists to monitor the health of endangered California Condor chicks and the breeding success of the species has become an important tool for outreach about this incredibly rare bird,” said Joseph Brandt, a FWS biologist.

People can now observe nesting California Condors and their young chicks via live-streaming webcams.
People can now observe nesting California Condors and their young chicks via live-streaming webcams!

Not surprisingly, installing the condor nest webcams was no small task; biologists and staff from FWS, Santa Barbara Zoo, and the Ventana Wildlife Society hiked heavy camera equipment on foot along deep canyons and steep ridgelines for installation by the nest cavities.

“Now, anyone with an Internet connection can not only watch condors at two release sites, but now observe their behavior in wild nests, which is truly extraordinary,” said VWS executive director Kelly Sorenson.

In 1982, only 22 California Condors survived. By spring of 1987, all remaining wild condors had been placed in captivity, thus beginning an intensive recovery effort among government agencies, zoos and other conservation groups to save the California Condor from extinction. In 1992, FWS began reintroducing captive-bred condors into the wild and with the help of public and private partners the total population has grown to approximately 430 birds, with more than half of the population flying free.

To view the nest webcam near Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Ventura County go to:

Click here to view the nest webcam at Big Sur in Monterey County.

Women Participation in Hunting Continues to Grow
According to the National Sporting Goods Association’s annual participation survey, the number of female hunters in the United States increased an astounding 85 percent from 2001 to 2013.In Indiana, the number of hunting licenses sold to women increased by 93 percent from 2006 to 2014, and female youth hunters – those less than age 18 – skyrocketed 114 percent from 2006 to 2014.

“Two major reasons come to mind,” said Mary Zeiss Stange, author of Woman the Hunter, a study of women’s cultural and historical relationship to hunting. “One is that women have gained sufficient ground socially and economically and have disposable income comparable to men’s. And very importantly, among younger women ­– the ‘millennials’ and whatever this next upcoming generation will be called – there is very little patience with the idea that an activity like hunting is ‘unfeminine.’ Indeed, they thrive on the idea of adventure.”

Further, outdoor events geared toward females continue to gain in popularity. Becoming an Outdoors-Woman offers training in a variety of outdoor activities, including game cleaning, bowhunting, and introduction to deer, turkey and small game hunting.

Stange, a professor and director of religious studies at Skidmore College in Pennsylvania, said the practical reason for the increase of women hunters is simply that hunting is fun and deeply rewarding.

Wildfires May Limit Some Hunter Access in Washington State
Wildlife biologists with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have compiled information to help hunters have a successful hunting season.

Hunting seasons will continue despite several wildfires, but hunters should be aware of land access restrictions around Washington due to fire, said Mick Cope, WDFW game division manager.

“There’s some good hunting to be had this year, but hunters need to check current conditions before heading into the field,” Cope said. “Some hunters may need to find alternate hunting locations or different routes to their selected hunting locations.”

The reports include information on deer, elk, waterfowl, turkey, upland birds, and other species, as well as suggestions on techniques and places to hunt. Staff reports for all 17 wildlife districts in the state are available online.

Montana Teen’s Teacher-Carry Initiative Approved to Proceed
A ballot initiative proposed by a Montana teenager that would allow public school employees with a valid concealed carry permits to carry firearms on school property has received approval to move forward to the petition process by the state Attorney General.

Chet Billi, 17, a firearms enthusiast and junior at Whitefish High School, submitted draft language for the initiative in May. He said he decided to take action when similar legislation failed in the Montana State Senate earlier this year.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said Billi in a statement. “This initiative will empower an armed good guy to be between our children and outside threats the whole time that they are at school. Those who have survived a school shooting know that it could have been stopped had someone been in the position to fight back. It shouldn’t be a crime to protect our children.”

To qualify for the November 2016 General Election ballot, the verified signatures of at least 24,175 registered voters statewide and at least 5 percent of registered voters in at least 34 state House districts must be gathered.

Billi says he intends to recruit Montana firearms dealers and others to help circulate petitions to qualify Initiative-175 for the ballot. He has launched social media sites to further his effort and has received assistance from the Montana Shooting Sports Association with the wording of the initiative.

Quote of the Week
“No human being, however great, or powerful, was ever so free as a fish.”
-John Ruskin,
The Eagle’s Nest, 1872


J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for You may contact him at


Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.