CONDORS-In Flight

We’re listening to the sounds of young condors in flight. This month, young condors are learning to fly. Although they’re only about eight months old, the birds already have a wingspan of up to ten feet. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Don Bruning is Chairman and Curator of Ornithology at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

“Young condors when they first start flying, they try and do a lot of flapping because they don’t know how to soar. They have to learn how to soar. Well, of course, flapping takes a lot of energy and they really can’t do a great deal of flapping. Condors generally need wind and cliffs for their survival. If they do not have winds, they usually cannot get airborne. ”

But once they’re airborne, coasting on drafts of warm air called thermals, condors can fly for great distances with little effort, as they search for food.

“You watch them and they’re so majestic in flight. Because of their ability to soar, anyone who would see them has to be impressed by the size of this bird that can sail so motionless. I mean it looks like they’re putting no effort into it because they’re sailing around on thermals constantly. And from that point of view people must have always had the impression that these were really magical birds.”

Our special thanks to Michael Wallace, Monica Schwartz and the Los Angeles Zoo for the condor recordings.

Please visit our web site at www.pulseplanet.com.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

CONDORS-In Flight

Young condors rely on cliffs and strong winds to become airborne.
Air Date:11/13/1998
Scientist:
Transcript:

We're listening to the sounds of young condors in flight. This month, young condors are learning to fly. Although they're only about eight months old, the birds already have a wingspan of up to ten feet. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Don Bruning is Chairman and Curator of Ornithology at the Wildlife Conservation Society.

"Young condors when they first start flying, they try and do a lot of flapping because they don't know how to soar. They have to learn how to soar. Well, of course, flapping takes a lot of energy and they really can't do a great deal of flapping. Condors generally need wind and cliffs for their survival. If they do not have winds, they usually cannot get airborne. "

But once they're airborne, coasting on drafts of warm air called thermals, condors can fly for great distances with little effort, as they search for food.

"You watch them and they're so majestic in flight. Because of their ability to soar, anyone who would see them has to be impressed by the size of this bird that can sail so motionless. I mean it looks like they're putting no effort into it because they're sailing around on thermals constantly. And from that point of view people must have always had the impression that these were really magical birds."

Our special thanks to Michael Wallace, Monica Schwartz and the Los Angeles Zoo for the condor recordings.

Please visit our web site at www.pulseplanet.com.

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.