Kern County

Giant California Condors Are Rare, Except at This Woman's House in Tehachapi

About 15 to 20 endangered giant California condors showed up at a Kern County home and violated every guest rule imaginable.

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There are about 160 California condors flying free in Southern and Central California, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Why about 12 percent of them decided to flock together at Cinda Mickols’ home in the Kern County community of Tehachapi is a mystery.

About 15 to 20 of the endangered birds showed up at the house during the first weekend in May and made themselves at home. Mickols' daughter Seana Quintero has been chronicling the unruly visitors in a series of Twitter posts that demand a double-take.

On May 4, Quintero provided this situation update.

“They still haven’t left,” she tweeted. “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.”

Nearly a week later, the standoff continues.

Giant California condors make a mess at a home in Tehachapi. Credit: Seana Lyn

The birds have trashed the deck — ruining a spa cover, decorative flags and lawn ornaments. Plants have been knocked over, railings scratched and there’s unsightly bird poop everywhere.

“She’s definitely frustrated but also is in awe of this and knows what an unusual experience this is," Quintero said.

She also thanked followers for their kind words. One response stands out.

"Just want to say thank you to all the people for the kind words, advice, awe, and fantastic jokes. My mom’s been reading the comments (she really likes “condorminium”) and she’s glad that it’s bringing people joy."

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which runs a program to save the species from extinction, responded on Twitter. The agency noted that the house is in historic condor habitat, and suggested that Mickols try harmless hazing like shouting and clapping or spraying water.

California condors almost vanished in the 1980s before the few remaining birds were captured and placed in zoos for captive breeding. A few hundred birds are now in the wild.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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