Natural Sightings #645 - California Condor.JPG

A California Condor stops in a tree in Bear Valley Springs.

Joe Yuele took this photo of a California Condor that appeared in a tree at the Bear Valley Springs home where Joe lives with his wife, Patty.

If you spot a California Condor in the Tehachapi area and are close enough or can use binoculars to read the number on its wing tag, you can go to a website called "condor" and find out more about that particular bird.

When you enter the website, you are given an option to choose Central California, Southern California or Arizona-Utah. The California Condors seen in the Tehachapi Mountains are usually from the Southern California flock, but occasionally Central California birds make their way here.

Once you select the Southern California flock, you'll see 10 different colored boxes. Click on the one that most closely matches the wing tag on the bird you saw — sometimes they fade over time. Then all the tag numbers with that color will appear, and if you click on the correct on it will provide info about that bird.

The one that Joe photographed is a special bird: a female named Haku, which means "Hello" in the Native Chumash language, she is 29 years old. She was hatched at the LA Zoo in 1992, and in December of that year, she and five other six-month old birds were released into the backcountry of Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County. At the time, there was only one other free-flying condor, so Haku was one of the first seven condors reintroduced into the wild as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Condor Recovery Program. There are now more than 500 California Condors in the wild or in captive breeding programs.

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: