The Ventana Wildlife Society's Condor Webcam in the Big Sur wilderness is billed as the first webcam to stream live video of wild California condors — the largest land birds in North America. The cam's website comes with a warning that the scenery can be a bit graphic. To wit, in order to attract the giant but endangered birds into the camera's line of sight, the handlers put out some, shall we say, food for the scavengers. A stillborn calf a few times a week usually does the trick. I don't know how automated the cam will be in the future, but today there seems to be somebody driving — panning and zooming in for tight shots. From the San Jose Mercury:
The solar-powered "condor cam" allows the public to watch the huge, vulture-like birds feeding, grooming and flying in real time, and enables scientists to monitor them more efficiently.
It's the latest example of how inexpensive video technology and high-speed Internet connections are changing the way the public interacts with wildlife -- from sea otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to pandas at Washington, D.C.'s National Zoo.
"We put the camera right on top of one of the main feeding areas so we could zoom down and get identification of each individual," said Kelly Sorenson, executive director of the Ventana Wildlife Society, a nonprofit that has worked to bring condors back from the brink of extinction.
"Over the weekend when we were testing it, we had 25 condors in front of the camera."
The cam is solar powered and funded by FedEx, with help from the Oakland Zoo.
While we're in the area: Sea Otter Cam at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.