Condor Watch Talk

Carcass opening and double tagging.

  • vjbakker by vjbakker scientist

    I asked Devon Lang, a former condor field biologist who now work with condors the Santa Barbara Zoo about the square cut in one of the carcasses recently commented upon in Talk. I asked her if she thought the carcass had been cut by humans? She replied:

    "My guess is that the square is actually an opening in the carcass and it has thawed to look like a nice distinct square? We used to make several cuts in the calves and open them up to make it easier for the birds to feed but after a while we...realized, “hey, they’re condors and they have sharp beaks to do that!”. It was also common for other scavengers to get to them first and naturally make openings to the body cavity."

    I also asked her the policy on double tagging wings, as that question arose recently too:

    "Regarding the double/single wing tags: some sites still put two tags on birds but in SoCal we stopped doing that a few years ago. As I understand it, the main reason was to leave one wing open for the possibility of moving the wing tag/attaching a GPS unit if the original hole became too enlarged. If a condor is wearing a GPS unit and upon trapping we realize that the hole in its wing is >10mm in diameter, we will remove the transmitter and attach it to the other wing. I think other sites have stuck to tagging both wings because it might make identifications easier." [it certainly makes IDs easier on condorwatch!]

    Thanks Devon!


  • wreness by wreness moderator

    Thanks, VJ!

    Interesting about the "pre-cuts" as there have been many observations by people over time about carcass torsos or obviously cut open chests and exposed, neat rib cages. Kind of can't blame the animals for liking that convenience.

    Photo starting discussion about double tags can be found here :

    Added so Talk comment will show a link to this post 😃 Thanks for checking into that for us! 😃