Since 2003, Habitat Works 
has collected 3,431 pounds of high-grade Condor Microtrash from critically identified areas known to be frequented by wild condor parents.


Stomach contents of a 4-month old 
California Condor chick 
that  died in the nest, June, 2006.
Sespe Condor Sanctuary, Los Padres NF



It's all bout the little stuff.


A tailgate loaded with micro-trash at 
the end of a great day.


Condor over the San Fernando Valley



Condors observing humans
 collecting microtrash.

 



"Thank you for the two great outings that Woody 
and I worked on. You [offered] a condor cleanup
 where a ten-year-old boy and his grandfather
 could work for a few hours and know they had 
done something to help the condor. 
It was a good feeling and Woody and I gloried in it."

 Elden Hughes, Sierra Club, Honorary Vice President

 What is condor microtrash and why does it threaten condors?

     Trash is everywhere, but for condors, some it if is deadly.  
     The kind of trash that impacts condors is microtrash, usually smaller than a quarter.  It's generally composed of bottle caps, bullet casings and slugs, pull tabs, broken glass, cigarette butts, construction droppings, plastic bits and bags, tape and the like.  
     Although microtrash can be found in many places, it is especially threatening in areas of interest to condors, usually mountain top areas with significant updraft, where condors love soar and play.  These same areas have been historically attractive to humans too, for target practice, youth and lovers hangouts, as well as communication or lookout sites.
    Condors don't seek trash at dumps.  Microtrash is not campground, stream or roadside trash such as diapers, picnic trash, or piles of abandoned household items.  The picture at top left is condor microtrash.  
  
   Condors are intelligent, naturally playful, curious and habitual.  At special mountain-top hangouts, condors collect microtrash and take it back to the nest where it is unintentionally regurgitated with food for their nestling.  Once ingested by a delicate chick, the trash can obstruct their gastro-intestinal tract and/or cause metal poisoning.   
    B
iologists are not sure of the exact reason condors are drawn to microtrash, but they are taking steps  to distract these majestic birds from the habit.  
     On Location with the Condors is an invitation to you, your families and friends to come out and collect microtrash from critical areas known to be frequented by condor parents on the Angeles and Los Padres National Forest.  
     This effort is making a difference!  In the fall of 2004, the Condor Recovery Program boasted its first successful wild fledgling in Southern California, and another chick fledged in the fall of 2006!  In 2007, FOUR chicks fledged, and there have been successful nests every year since.  
     Condor parents generally mate for life, select nesting sites in mid-winter, and their single egg hatches in February or March.  Chicks receive food from their parents in the nest for 7-10 months(!) and fledge in the fall.  They remain associated with their parents in the wild for two years, during which their parents do not produce another chick.
   
We'd love to have you join us in the effort to improve habitat conditions for endangered California Condors.  Look for microtrash clean-ups on our calendar.

 


Father and son, helping condors.



Condors are curious and playful!



Walking a transect to get every bit.



A curious condor wondering 
what we're up to.



Kids saving condor chicks, really. 

It's true! We sold microtrash on ebay!
2 lbs sold for $41.  Proceeds directly supported volunteers helping condors.

 
             

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Habitat Works of Southern California.
HW is a project of Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs (saveourplanet.org), a 501c(3) nonprofit organization.