California Condors at Grand Canyon

A happy visitor who had been viewing condors at Grand Canyon Village a couple of weeks ago was surprised to note that the birds have numbers under their wings and wondered if anyone was tracking them.  In answer to her question, they are monitored by the Peregrine Fund  A recent article in the Grand Canyon News discussed a recently hatched condor as well as the condition of the birds in the area and the activity of the Peregrine Fund over the past 30 years.

Here is a summary of the article: Coming from near-extinction only 30 years ago, there are now 76 condors in northern Arizona and southern Utah in the rugged areas near the Canyon.  Two new hatchlings were found this spring and will hopefully fledge this fall.  There have only been 17 condors that have hatched in the wild of which 16 have fledged.  Yet, considering the number that were captured to save them from extinction in 1982 was only 22, they have made an amazing comeback.

Lead poisoning is the biggest problem right now.  Because the condors are scavengers they frequently find the carcasses of animals that have been shot with lead bullets.  The condors are then susceptible to lead poisoning when they consume those animals.

The best places to view these majestic birds are at the South Rim, Navajo Bridge (on the way to the North Rim), Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and Zion National Park.  May is the best month for finding them but in September there will be up to three condors released into the wild.  The public is welcome to come to the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument to observe this release.

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