Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Dorothy, our Andean Condor, or Vultur gryphus in Latin, is one of our largest birds at World Bird Sanctuary.  She has a wingspan of roughly 10 and a half feet, which happens to be almost exactly twice my height!  

Dorothy, WBS's young Andean Condor

Currently Dorothy is enjoying her days on the display line where you can come and see her between 8 am and 5 pm every day.  

Dorothy was hatched here at World Bird Sanctuary from a breeding pair of Andean Condors that we had on a breeding loan from the Cincinnati Zoo.  Andean Condors mate for life and during that pair’s 10 year tenure at WBS they raised 6 babies; a very successful rate considering that in the wild they usually lay only one egg every 2 years.  

Someday soon Dorothy will sport the beautiful plumage and ruff seen here on her mother, Laurel

Dorothy’s five brothers and sisters were then sent back to Cincinnati Zoo where they were eventually successfully released back into the wild in western South America, where you would naturally find them soaring through the air.   WBS chose to keep Dorothy so she could be one of our many ambassadors to educate our guests about problems birds are having worldwide.  

In South America, Andean Condors are classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List.  In the wild they face threats from poisoning and human persecution by farmers, who believe that the condors are killing their livestock.  

Thankfully Dorothy is safe here at WBS where after hours she is being trained. Hopefully she will star one day in some of our educational programs.  Adam Triska, a staff member at WBS, and I  have recently started working with her to teach her to go easily into and out of a large crate in case she would ever need to be moved.  We are also working with her to go to specified targets, much like our White Pelicans do during some of our programs.  

Andean Condors are very social birds in the wild, where there have been reports of up to 40 condors feeding from a single carcass.  Dorothy looks as if she really enjoys the company of working with us and doing things correctly.  She is also a quick learner--a sign of high intelligence.  She picks up on cues and body language much faster than many of the other birds.  

Here I am teaching Dorothy to go into and out of her crate

Training is going very well and Dorothy always seems to get excited when she sees us walking towards her enclosure with our training equipment.  So far this is just the beginning of her training and I find that I look forward to working with her at the end of each day at WBS.  

When you visit the World Bird Sanctuary be sure to walk down the exhibit line to see Dorothy.  You can’t miss her—she’s the REALLY BIG bird.

Submitted by Mike Cerutti, World Bird Sanctuary Naturalist/Trainer


RuthMItchell said...

Dorothy IS beautiful!!! I would love to see some video of her in action since I now live too far away to visit on a regular basis!!

Photog said...

Thanks for your interest in seeing videos of Dorothy. WBS has a You Tube page featuring many of the birds who reside at the Sanctuary. There are some older videos of Dorothy, and from time to time we post videos of interesting things the birds are doing. Here is the link http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=world+bird+sanctuary&sm=1