Lesa Neal took this photo in Stallion Springs recently of a young California Condor and a Common Raven.
Lesa explained this about her photo: "I have wanted to see a Condor up close for years. Moving here a year and a half ago, I heard they hung about in Tehachapi so I have been waiting and watching and yesterday (April 17) there they were. Amazing! And the sound when they take flight...gave me chills."
Lesa was able to get some great shots of Condors resting and socializing on boulders and a big fallen oak trunk.
This photo shows the drastic size difference between a Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) and a Raven. Ravens (Corvus corvax) are very large birds in their own right, about two feet tall and weighing 1.5 to 3.5 pounds.
Condors, on the other hand, stand over four feet tall and weigh 15 to 20 pounds. They are the largest native birds in North America.
As indicated by its dark head, the bird in this photo is immature. Young birds like this have dark heads, grayer necks and mottled grayish under their wings, instead of the bright white markings that adult birds have on the underside of their wings.
Adult California Condors tend to have pinkish necks and yellowish-orange heads. If you see a large black bird with a red head, then it is a Turkey Vulture, not a California Condor.
The Nuwä (Kawaiisu or Southern Paiute) word for California Condor is wokid wükümahaazi, pronounced wah-kid wuh-kuh-mah-HAHZ-zi. It literally means "Chief of Vultures."
NATURAL SIGHTINGS is a regular feature of the Tehachapi News edited by Jon Hammond which showcases photos of the natural beauty that enhances the quality of life in Tehachapi. If you have a good quality image of plants, animals, insects, trees, birds, weather phenomena, etc., taken in the Tehachapi area, you may submit it to the Tehachapi News for possible publication. Submissions can be dropped by the News office in the form of a print or CD, or sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.