Amanda V.- CA condors actually seek out and preferentially eat the bits of lead shot left in a carcass, because in the natural world, those would be bone bits and provide them necessary calcium.
This is why so many have succumbed to lead poisoning. And when a mate dies, they will find another mate, if there is another viable adult around.
But much like parrots, they do have to have a good personality match- they will not just go with anyone. NW Vultures are highly intelligent as well (another similarity with parrots, although they have very different social systems).
Catherine Tobsing – Lead is “sweet” tasting so I can see why they would seek it out, so sad. It is largely a myth that some birds will mate for “life”, yes, if they are the type of bird that stays together during the “off” breeding time they will likely stay with their mate, but if one dies, they will mourn awhile, but will seek a new mate eventually.
I recall a traffic jam once on a highway and it turned out to be a Canada Goose had been hit by a car and its mate would NOT leave it.
Some people had to stop, and ward off the surviving mate in order for others to pull the heavy dead goose off the highway before traffic could move again. I cried then, and am shedding a tear now, even 10 years afterwards.
Yes, I mentioned to Mitch that the wings are likely the most beautiful part of a vulture. Certainly the head is usually the least part. In the midwest (Illinois, Indiana) we have the Turkey Vultures (or turkey buzzard) and when they fly, looking up and seeing the underside of their wings is magnificent.