Indigenous peoples of North America have great respect for the California condor and see it as a symbol of power. In legends it is called the thunderbird, because it was thought to bring thunder to the skies with the beating of its huge wings. When they fly, California condors are a sight to behold. Their impressive wings catch thermal air currents that rise up as the sun heats the ground, and with those wings they can stay aloft for hours, soaring through the skies as they scan the fields below, looking for food. Like all vultures, California condors feed on dead animals like deer, cattle, and sheep, as well as rodents, rabbits, and fish. As scavengers, they are part of nature’s cleanup crew, and they are an important part of the ecosystem. Without them, things could get pretty messy!
Did you know? California condors are the largest flying bird in North America.