Frequently asked questions

Where is the best place to see California Condors?


There are a lot of places that California Condors can be seen. Friends of Condors mostly works in Southern California, but we will give a quick breakdown of potential viewing sites for each population. Feel free to reach out to us for more details, or if you think there is a really good spot that we missed. Photo Courtesy USFWS Southwest Region. Click on it to see their Condor Recovery Program Website. Southern California A great place to see condors in SoCal is the upper Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge sign on Hudson Ranch Road (formerly Cerro Noroeste Road) between Maricopa and Pine Mountain Club. We normally have a viewing booth there on 1st & 3rd Saturdays June through September with a shade canopy and spotting scope. More Info here and check our event page to confirm dates. We also conduct free tours, a few times each year. Contact us for more details or sign up for the mailing list for tour invites here. Check out the USFWS condor viewing suggestions here. Central California, Coastal The Pacific Coast Highway near Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is reputed to have some really great pull-offs where you can condor watch. Ventana Wildlife Society manage that release, so they might have more information. They also conduct tours for a fee Central California, Inland Pinnacles National Park has some great condor viewing. High Peaks is one area where they are seen often and the campground is another. Check in with Pinnacles staff though, as they will have the most up-to-date information. Arizona/Utah There are four places that get mentioned often for sightings of condors in this population. They are listed below and link to more info (if available).

  1. Grand Canyon National Park
  2. Zion National Park
  3. Lee's Ferry/ Navajo Bridge
  4. The Peregrine Fund annual condor release
Baja California Norte Condors are released in the Parque Nacional Sierra de San Pedro Mártir (Sierra de San Pedro Mártir National Park).




How big are California Condors?


California Condors are huge! They have a wingspan of about 9.5 feet and weigh an average of 20 pounds. For comparison, that is at least two feet more wingspan than a bald or golden eagle and 4 times the weight of a turkey vulture! This picture shows a condor with two ravens flying next to it, and the ravens look tiny (and ravens are not small birds)! Another way of looking at there size is this... their wingspan is almost 3 feet more than a king sized bed is long!!! King sized beds in the US are 80" (or 6.6 ft) long. Add 2.9 more feet to get to a California Condor's enormous 9.5 foot spread!




How Many California Condors Are There?


Photo: USFWS Southwest Region California Condor populations hit a low of just 22 birds in 1982. As of 2020, the population was 504 (wild and captive) The US Fish & Wildlife Service leads the California Condor Recovery Program and publishes an annual population status report. Click on the title to view the 2020 Condor Population Status Report. Interested in older population data? Previous years' population information can be found in the 2019 Condor Population Status Report, the 2018 Condor Population Status Report, and the US Fish & Wildlife Service Condor Population page. Photo Courtesy USFWS Southwest Region. Click on image to see full album.