Los Padres National Forest
Threatened and Endangered Species
Managing and protecting the habitat of threatened and endangered species of wildlife and plants is an important task of the Forest Service. Approximately 30 species of plants are being evaluated for possible classification as endangered. Many species of wildlife depend on National Forest land for their continued survival. Of the six endangered species on the Los Padres, the two that are especially dependent on the Forest are the American Peregrine Falcon and the California Condor. Other endangered species within or adjacent to the Forest are the San Joaquin Kit Fox, California Brown Pelican, California Least Tern, and Southern Bald Eagle. The Southern Sea Otter, a threatened species, also occurs along the coast of the Monterey District. Please help ensure their future survival by knowing and protecting them in their habitat.
California Condors (Gymnogyps californianus) may be seen over portions of Los Padres National Forest. These magnificent birds, which now number less than 30, are fully protected by State and Federal law.
The condor has an average wingspread of nine feet and weighs about 20 pounds when fully grown. It is the largest North American land bird. Condors may be identified in flight by the nearly straight leading edge of their long, broad wings, which curve slightly forward toward the tip. Extended primary feathers on the wing tips and a broad fan-shaped tail are also characteristic. The adult bird has a prominent triangular patch of white under the wings, and the head is orange.
Condors generally nest only once every other year and lay but one egg. They do not build nests, but use the soft earth within caves in sandstone cliffs or bluffs.
Two sanctuaries have been established in Los Padres National Forest so that condors can roost, nest and bathe free from molestation by curious humans. The Sisquoc Sanctuary of 1,200 acres in the San Rafael Wilderness was established in 1937, and in 1947 the 53,000-acre Sespe Condor Sanctuary was established in Ventura County north of Fillmore. The areas provide nesting sites in inaccessible, high rocky cliffs. Public entry is restricted in both areas.
Today, condors are most frequently seen in flight over the Ojai and Mt. Pinos Ranger Districts. Visit the Condor Observation Site at the summit of Mt. Pinos or the Valle Vista Condor Observation Site on the Mt. Pinos District for the best opportunity to see condors. Both are popular locations where the birds may be best observed from June through October.
The condor may eventually become extinct with or without your help, or the help of the many agencies, organizations and individuals who are attempting to save the species. Nevertheless, you can do your part to assist the recovery by remembering: ALL LARGE DARK BIRDS ARE PROTECTED BY LAW. DO NOT SHOOT OR OTHERWISE HARASS.
Americian Peregrine Falcon
The Americian Peregrine Falcon (Felco peregrinus anatum) is another "T & E" species found in the Forest and is protected by law.
The Peregrine population has greatly diminished in California during the past 40 years. The number of pairs has declined from an estimated 100 in 1940 to 39 in 1980. Forest lands are provided special consideration in resource management programs to prevent damage or disturbance.
The Peregrine has long, pointed wings and a narrow tail. Its flight is very fast and its wingbeats characteristically rapid.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication