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'Pretty amazing but also the worst’: Endangered condors descend on California home

Posted at 5:44 PM, May 10, 2021

TEHACHAPI, Calif. — A California woman is trying to respect one of nature’s endangered raptors, after they descended on her home and are being destructive guests.

Thanks to efforts to increase populations, there are about 200 California condors living in the wild in California.

More than a dozen of the large birds have decided to call Cinda Mickols’ place their home for now. Mickols lives about two hours outside Los Angeles.

She had seen condors near her property before, but she was not prepared for what she saw last week.

Several large birds flew away when they saw her coming, leaving their destruction for her to find; knocked down planters, shredded spa cover, and lots of poop all over the deck.

Mickols’ daughter, Seana Quintero, has been sharing updates on her mom’s guests.

“Over the weekend ~15 California condors descended on my moms house and absolutely trashed her deck,” Seana tweeted on May 4. “It sucks but also this is unheard of, there’s only 160 of these birds flying free in the state and a flock of them decided to start a war with my mom.”

Mickols shooed away the birds initially by using a hose and swinging her cane toward them.

But they hung around.

“She does think this is pretty amazing but also the worst,” Seana tweeted.

“Happy Mother’s Day mom, hope you like the condors.”

Because the condors are endangered, removal methods cannot include anything that hurts the animals. Mickols can use the garden hose, clapping, yelling or other loud noises; which she does to keep them off her roof. A species is considered endangered when there are less than 2,500 mature individuals.

The birds and Mickols appear to have reached a truce, of sorts.

The birds stay away from the home in nearby trees during most of the day, circling overhead in the evenings and wait until she’s gone to get closer to the house.

Seana says her mom is “holding up well” and is “enjoying witnessing this incredible event even if they can be destructive and annoying at times.”

So, why Mickols house? According to wildlife experts she talked to, it’s all about location. Her home gets a lot of sunlight during the day and has good winds from the east and west. Condors are so large, they need the updrafts from warm wind to help them glide.

It also sits in the condor’s historic habitat area with natural food sources.

As Seana explains it, “hey this place is great! We can stay here at night and then surf the wind to find food during the day and know we can always catch a wave home. Plus it has a sweet deck to party on!”

Wildlife experts that were able to observe this flock say it appears they are between 2-4 years old and is a sign of successful breeding efforts.

Hope Mickols likes her new neighbors. Condors are one of the longest-living raptors in the world, they can live to be 50 years old or more.