California condors swoop on home and 'declare war'

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image copyrightDavid McNew/Getty Images
image captionThere are believed to be fewer than 500 California condors in the US (file photo)

A flock of endangered California condors has laid claim to a home in the US state, "declaring war" with the property owner, the family says.

At least 15 of the birds reportedly descended on Cinda Mickols' house in the city of Tehachapi at the weekend.

"They still haven't left," her daughter Seana Quintero tweeted, adding that they had "absolutely trashed her deck".

There are believed to be fewer than 500 such condors in the US, and only about 160 have been recorded in California.

The large protected birds, for which a collective noun is a "scarcity" are anything but, according to Ms Quintero, who has been tweeting updates since the condors first dropped in on her mother and started "hanging out ominously".

"My tiny little mom was staring down a bunch of birds half her size from less than 10ft [3m] away trying to shoo them," she wrote. "They keep hanging out on her roof and railings messing with stuff and pooping everywhere."

Her tweets have included images that appear to show damage at the property with several of the condors perched outside on railings.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Neither Ms Quintero nor her mother object to the presence of the birds, she said.

The issue was the damage - knocked-over plant pots, scratched paintwork and vandalised screen doors.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

The US Fish and Wildlife Service responded to Ms Quintero's tweets, explaining that the birds were protected and that her mother's property was located in a historical condor habitat.

"If this happens again, hazing to preclude them from causing damage and habituation is encouraged. This includes using methods that will not harm them such as water hoses, yelling, clapping, shouting or using other preventative measures such as scarecrow sprinklers," the agency added.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Ms Quintero said that her mother had followed the advice and given a couple of the condors on her roof a "shower" with a hose. "Now they're back chilling with the rest of the flock on her tree. Watching. Waiting. Doing condor things," she said.

The California condor, one of the world's largest birds of prey, has been protected as an endangered species by US federal law since 1967 and by California state law since 1971, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

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