Meet Princess, the Redwood Fledgling

The baby condor, a webcam star, has grown up and flown her nest.

Tim Huntington

A BABY BIRD GROWS UP: When webcams became a Thing, capital T, around about the time we stopped saying "World Wide Web" and just resorted to "WWW," people regularly checked in on the planet's most famous landmarks, both natural and made by humans. The sunrise over the opera house in Sydney or fireworks at the Statue of Liberty or snowfall in Prague could all be enjoyed wherever you happened to be, if you had a screen in front of you and dial-up. But webcams soon flowered in countless ways, with coffee pot cams and moon cams and other cams competing for our eyes. One category of online cams easily rose to the top of the popular heap, however: the nest cam. Who wouldn't want to see brand-new eagles hatch? Or swans or storks? Or a fluffy baby condor way up in a redwood? It was just this last lovely sight that many fans across the world enjoyed via the Condor Nest Cam through much of the middle of 2015. Viewers kept a watch for the baby's mom, Redwood Queen, a beloved and much-watched condor in the Big Sur area, and viewers wanted to know when the little bird, who was born around May, would finally spread those always impressive condor wings and fledge. Big news: It turns out Princess -- that was the name bestowed upon the youngster after a donation drive to help find a name -- has finally flown her redwood.

THE ANNOUNCEMENT... arrived on Nov. 21, less than a week before Thanksgiving, so bet the dedicated volunteers of the Ventana Wildlife Society, the people who help our Central Coast condors, are feeling some gratitude. And while the Condor Nest Cam is no longer in operation, given that there's just an empty former nursery there now, you can try and get a peek at Princess on the main Condor Cam, which is overseen by the society (the society's Facebook page advises fans to keep watch for her there, in expectation that her parents will bring her along to feed). Want to go searching for the majestic birds of Big Sur with a Ventana volunteer? You can -- there are monthly tours. Perhaps you'll even spot Princess, the newest of the ever-growing Big Sur-area brood. They're not hard to miss, when you're there, given that condors are the largest North American land birds. Happy flying, Princess, and a very long life, and future, to you and your feathery brethren.

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