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The California condors faced very near extinction in the 80's. A culmination of shootings and lead posionings resulted in only 9 known wild condors in 1985. By 1987, all of the remaining condors were captured and placed in a breeding and reintroduction program.

With a little tender loving care (and I believe nice mood music piped into the cages), the condors rebounded fabulously.

In the last 5 or so years, I've occasionally spotted them flying solo or in small packs in the foothills from Los Angeles to Big Sur. But on this one trip, we came across a spectacular flock hanging out in the pine trees next to downtown Cambria.

A convenient road on the crest of the slope allowed us to get within ~50 feet of the top of the pine tree in this photo. There were ~50 birds cruising the treetops and gliding around very close to us. It was awe-inspiring to listen to them 'whoosh' by.

For carrion-eating scavengers, they are really quite graceful and beautiful flyers.

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