Condor spotted in San Mateo County is first in 110 years

A condor that was released into the wild at Big Sur last year has been sighted in San Mateo County, marking the first appearance of the bird in the Northern California county in 110 years.

Condor #597, also known as “Lupine,” was spotted on private property near Pescadero and recorded by a motion-activated camera May 30, the Ventana Wildlife Society said in a statement.

The property owner sent video footage of the condor to the society, which cares for and releases birds.

Lupine had been routinely seen at Pinnacles National Park outside Salinas before taking flight to Pescadero, a coastal community south of San Francisco. The condor returned to the national park several days later.

The last spotting of a condor in San Mateo County was near Stanford University in 1904.


“Not only is this the first sighting of a condor in San Mateo County in 110 years, but it is an exciting new range expansion into an area that could support condors in the wild,” said Kelly Sorenson, executive director of the Ventana Wildlife Society.

Joe Burnett, a biologist and condor release coordinator for the society, said it’s not uncommon for the younger birds of the Central California flock to expand their territory. There are currently more than 60 wild condors in central California and more than 130 flying free statewide.

Condors have been rebounding for years after being thinned out by lead poisoning and DDT-induced eggshell thinning.

“People see the condor recovery has a heavy human involvement,” Burnett said. “But it’s cool to see these birds do what they’ve historically done. These birds are doing it on their own.”