There are about 160 California Condors living wild in the state, and earlier this week, roughly one in ten of them congregated on Cinda Mickols’ deck and trashed the place. She lives north of Los Angeles, in a hilly, arid zone that the birds prefer. She’d see them soaring in the distance occasionally, but never partying on her deck, covering it with thick white poop, refusing to leave.

Nickols, who at 5’3″ is over four feet shorter than the massive birds’ almost 10-foot wingspan, first tried to shoo the birds off with a cane. When that failed, she turned the hose on them. That sorta worked, but only temporarily, the birds have been returning all week.

But why have so many taken up residence on Mickols’ deck? Because they’re teenagers, basically.


Michael Fry, an expert on avian science, told The Washington Post this patio-wrecking party could simply be a result of successful condor breeding programs producing plenty of juveniles with not enough adult supervision to teach them how to behave properly.

Technically, the birds on the deck appear to be between 4-6 years of age, according to Fry, just nearing adulthood for the condor. Perfect age to loiter.

Mickols, for her part, loves watching the birds fly, telling the Post she merely objects to them ripping up her spa cover and leaving poop to deal with.

Her house is ideal condor habitat, on a hilltop where the birds can easily swim through the sky toward favored wind patterns, keeping an eye on potential food below.

“I want to respect them and to observe them from a distance,” Mickols said. “They’re beautiful when they’re flying. They’re beautiful when they’re perched on trees. I don’t want them on my deck or my house.”

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