Condor Seen in NoCal?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 29th, 2012

The photo taken by “Matt” and sent into writer Joan Morris of the “Animal Life/Pets and Wildlife” column at California’s Contra Costa Times:

I live in the hills of Pleasanton, so I always keep my eyes open for the bountiful wildlife that surrounds us in this area. I was washing my car in the driveway recently and I heard a screeching from high above, like a red tail hawk, and when I looked up I noticed a bird that I have never seen.
It had white areas under its wing and its tail, and was much larger than the turkey vulture that was near it in flight. I had an inkling that this might be a California condor so I ran inside, searched what they look like in flight and grabbed my camera. The search results made me realize that I was looking at the rare California condor. Do you have any information that could provide some answers to this rare sighting?

Here are two enlargements of this bird in the photograph.

California Condor

The bird it appears to be, according to Joan Morris’ experts: Juvenile Golden Eagle

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

6 Responses to “Condor Seen in NoCal?”

  1. PoeticsOfBigfoot responds:

    Still a cool sighting! Thanks, Loren for posting.

  2. DWA responds:

    Given range considerations and the sound reported by the sighter (no hawk was apparently seen), eagle seems much more likely than condor.

    Still cool though.

    I saw a golden eagle in Shenandoah National Park, VA in March 2003. Even though I found later that that is actually quite plausible (a migratory breeding population exists in Quebec), that didn’t matter to me.

  3. Kenji responds:

    It’s NorCal! This excites me even if it wasn’t a condor. There’s is a taxedermied Golden eagle on the top of Mt. Diablo in the visitor center. It’s in Contra Costa County CA, It’s huge and It always made sad to think we had a bird even larger and it was extinct in the area. I keep hope alive though that somewhere there’s a stable population just waiting for the chance to surge in breading again and retake to the sky’s.

  4. Goodfoot responds:

    A Golden Eagle in Shenandoah NP? Wow… how cool is that? I observed them with binoculars on many occasions when I live in Taos, NM. There was a breeding pair that came by regularly. My idiot friends insisted it was a hawk. Nope. Sorry. Golden Eagle. Looks practically nothing like a hawk.

  5. Scopi responds:

    Ivory-Billed Woodpecker!

  6. DWA responds:


    First thing I thought actually was big hawk. REALLY big. A raven was buzzing it, which ruled out vulture (ravens don’t much care about them). I tried to get as many markings as I could which at the distance wasn’t many. I really didn’t have a frame of reference for this.

    I never considered bald eagle seriously; it’s only this year that I saw the first one of them that I have in Shenandoah.

    Probable reason for all the above: This eagle isn’t closely related to the bald eagle …but is (at least relatively closer) to the buteo hawks. So: while no, it’s not close enough to a hawk that I’m not laughing at myself now that I ever thought that…well, it’s close enough that the other eagle never entered the conversation, particularly after I got home and compared them.

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