Condor Watch Talk

Everything Helpful to Know What You Need To Do

  • wreness by wreness moderator

    Frequently Asked Condor Questions

    Helpful links:

    FIELD GUIDE photos showing size comparisons and how to use Condor Watch - The Guide!

    GALLERY OF WING TAG COLORS Photos of wing tag colors & numbers, how to use the marking menu and identify the animals you'll see, photos of the animals & more!

    PHOTO IDs with EXPLANATION TEXT Photos from all angles or carcasses, condors, turkey vultures, eagles, coyotes and critters and size comparisions so you know what you're looking at

    LIST of ALL COLORED/RARE TAG NUMBERS The numbers (with photos) of the colored tags (Yellow, Red, Blue, Orange, Purple) and rare tags to help you identify them better (or at least know what you're not looking at!)

    LIST of TAGS with "UNKNOWN BIO" - what that means, why that might happen (and why it's ok with some)

    -=-=-=-=-=- . . . . . . QUESTIONS

    • ~TAGS

    I can't see all the numbers on the tag.. . . .. . Mark the number you can see and put an X in place of the number you can't. (example- 4X X3). If no numbers are visible put XX in number box and just mark tag color.

    I can tell the bird has a tag but can't see details. . . .. . Put an XX in the tag number box. This will show that the condor had a tag.

    The Bio said the condor had died but the date of the picture was taken after the bird died. What?!. . . .. . You found a Zombie Condor! If you run into these extra special condors, be sure to click the "Do You Want To Talk About This Image" button and post it on the board. Then post the bird's tag number: Science Board> The Objects> Post any inaccurate Tag Bios here -=-

    I know I put the correct tag information down but the Bio says the tag is "unknown". . . .. . Be sure to enter any dots or underline on the tag, also, as this is part of the ID. If you're sure you did, please post the information of the Unknown tag on the board Science Board> The Objects>'Unknown' Numbers -=- list 'em here -.


    The photo is "ruined" - all black, over exposed, a photo of the sky, foggy, the sun is in the camera, the camera is tipped in the grass, etc. You don't have to hash tag this or remark on it in any way. These pop up periodically. If you find a photo with "nothing" in it, just hit "All animals marked" and skip it. This will take it out of the system.

    I didn't mark all the animals before I hit "All animals marked". . . .. . . That's ok! Many people will be getting the same photo to evaluate. If you missed something or think you have made a mistake, the next person will correct it! You don't have to worry about being perfect.

    These ravens are driving me crazy! Do I really have to mark every single one?. . . .. . Yes. Don't worry about being perfect but try to get every one. If it makes it any easier, no one likes to mark a ton of ravens but they're usually yelling at every one, are funny at times and are troublemakers. We have fun posting captions to photos pointing this out.

    How do I mark an animal that isn't on the list like a cow, a pig or a human?. . . .. . Mark them using the "something Else" Button

    Hash Tagging "Something Else" Objects
    If you find something that's not on the menu, we'd like you to hash tag it
    Hash tags # mark a photo like a "search" and puts it into a community "search" So if you hash tag a pig, ( #pig ) then that pic will go into all the pig photos.


    #scale - if you can see the tag of the bird and if you see the weight. The data can be recorded for a Health Check on the bird. If you can't read the scale but do see the tag, someone might be able to read the scale (we have a lot of eagle eyes here
    If there's no tag visible then just mark him the distance from the carcass that they are (or no carcass)

    *If you have marked an something in a photo using the "Something Else" button please hash tag the photo:











    #unknownbird . . . (this doesn't mean you couldn't identify the bird in the photo as far as if it was a condor or raven - it means the bird was another species not in the project - for instance a roadrunner or an owl

    #unknownmammal (this might be a rabbit, lizard, weasel, etc.)

    #dailyzoo is for the DailyZoo page. A different photo is featured every day from a different area on Zooniverse so if you find one or see one that's incredible and want to suggest it, then hash tag it #dailyzoo to call attention to it!

    I can't accurately count how many birds there are when there is a dense pile of them all smashed together.. . . .. . That's ok! Do the best you can - these photos can take time! Have fun, don't stress. We take the the estimates that everyone makes on the photo and it is reviewed in the end.

    I can't see a carcass or tell where it is when there are so many birds. . . .. . First, take a good (magnified) look at their feet area. Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of the brown, black or white carcass showing there. If not, look at the condor's postures and the direction they are facing. They'll form a circle or huddle around a carcass so take a Best Guess, based on the tightness of this circle, where the center is. There may be more than one carcass (or it may be long and spread out along the ground so if you think you see more than one of these "hot spots", it can be correct.

    . TIP: The carcasses are usually in the same locations so once you get familiar with the areas in the photos you'll have an idea where they might be.

    How do I mark a carcass if there is just bones and fuzz and a mess?. . . .. Yeah, it can get pretty gross. Carcasses are chained or tied, then fastened to the ground on wooden stakes, some which might be painted red at the bottom. This is so animals can't drag them away out of camera-view. Look for the chain, metal clasp or stake for an idea of carcass location. Pieces of the carcass can also be elsewhere if they have been dragged off by a coyote or animal to eat. If it's large enough to be seen or you can tell an animal is eating something away from the rest of the group, mark this as 'carcass' as well. (See carcass ID sheet) If there is literally nothing there but fuzz or ickyness, don't mark it as anything. It's just fuzz and ickyness.

    Do we mark a scale standing there? . . . If there's a scale in a photo, you don't have to mark it.

    If there's a condor on it and you can't see their tag, just mark the distance they are from the carcass as usual as if the scale isn't there (they love sitting on the scales!)

    When to mark #scale: if a condor is on the scale and you can clearly see the tag info (number and color) and weight, the photo can be used to record a Health Check. When you're done classifying the photo, please click the "do you want to talk about this image" and then hash tag the photo #scale . Enter the tag number and the weight on the scale. (If you can't read the scale, some one will probably be able to) Example: #scale White49 18 pounds

    I'm not sure if I'm looking at a Turkey Vulture or a Condor. . . .. . Condors are huge! They have black feathers and a large white patch of feathers underneath their wings and along the sides. They have long pinkish white necks that look like snakes and which they can bend into all kinds of positions (adult) or black faces and necks (juvenile). They have a fluffy "boa" of feathers which they can pull up around their ears if they get cold. Their faces can have colors of purple, red and yellow which they can inflate to communicate with each other, so their faces can take on a lumpy look. Adults also have a black band across their forehead that can give the look of a mask. They have large hooked beaks.

    . Turkey Vultures are much smaller- about 1/3rd the size. They have brown and tan feathers. They have smooth bright red heads and a small white beak. They also have a collar of feathers at their neck but it is smooth and stationary, all the way to their chin. Their heads come out of the top so it looks like a walking cane handle This is a great, huge photo of a turkey vulture, though the color is bad - the face is vibrant red and the tip of the beak is white. You can clearly see the 'collar' of feathers at the neck, which never moves, and how their head comes out of it on an angle.

    . Here are photos showing both feeding together. You can see the size differences here . . . . . Here's another good one ...... the best one yet! . . . Ok this is seriously, really, the best one yet!! - Turkey vulture, raven, condor

    Do I have to mark every piece of the carcass? Sometimes it's all over the place. . . .. . Yes. If the pieces are large enough that they can be eaten, mark them. Sometimes it can be a mess. These animals have no table manners.

    How are the carcasses killed? What are they? Why are they chained?. . . .. . These are donated animals - mostly still born dairy cows and rabbits. They are chained so they aren't dragged off out of the view of the camera. They are placed there (and cleaned up) by the Humans that are sometimes photographed.


    All I see are feathers jammed up in front of the camera. . . .. . If they're all bunched up in front of the camera and you have no idea what to make of it, take a Best Guess as to what any individual birds might be. If you have no "directional information" to make a guess where a carcass might be, just mark "No Carcass Present" for the distance. Then click "All Animals Marked"

    I guess there's a carcass because I see tails of condors eating but it's mostly off-camera . . . If you're not sure there's a carcass or there isn't enough information to be sure what the condors are doing then mark them the distance from the carcass you can see. Whatever is going on will show more clearly in other photos down the line (or already have!)

    I can't see anything in the picture. It is totally black/white/too much glare/ruined.. . . .. . Just click the "all Animals Marked" button and skip the photo.

    Please feel free to post and questions and comments you have on the board in the appropriate folder...take a look around! 'The Cafe has place to chat, post where you're from, and post links to funny photos you find (lots there, take a look!)

    Remember - Stay Calm and Carrion!