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August 05, 2008

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Saintperle

Historically (like since the Ice age until quite recently) Condors were a coastal species ranging all along the Pacific Coast up through Canada) and their primary food was dead beached whales. So was this some sort of evolutionary Burger King memory wisdom cutting in? Dunno. Of course, people owning beachfront property aren't overjoyed at the prospect of looking out over their expensive view and seeing -- for several months at a time -- a decomposing Grey Whale stretching from here to there, with condors and ravens all munching away happily.

Dick Smith's wonderful 1978 book "Condor Journal: The History, Mythology and Reality of the California Condor" was a fine source of info on the birds (even including records of them making themselves pets, as in hacked out, returning to their humans every evening or so.

These days, beached whales and sea lions are pretty much the only food they can get that aren't liable to contain lead shot.

The Condors' ecosystem was huge, involves the circulation of the entire Pacific Basin from the Bering Straits to Antarctica, with whales migrating and depending on krill and THAT isn't coming back.

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