Saturday, August 21, 2010

Condor Sighting

I'm told that there are people who visit Grand Canyon, not to marvel at the landscape, but in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the rarest of birds, the California Condor.

There are only 180 condors that live in the wild (another 200 live in captivity), and Grand Canyon is one of the few places they call home. Back in 1987, there were only 22 condors left in existence, and they were captured by the US government and put in a captive breeding program. Since then, their numbers have increased to the point where condors have been released back into the wild, though they are tagged and tracked by biologists.

On this day, we were just beginning to enjoy a ranger-led tour of the Rim Trail, when this bird swooped in for a visit. Our ranger was surprised and delighted -- even being at the Canyon daily, he hadn't seen a condor in about a month. He immediately ditched the planned agenda for the tour, and launched excitedly into a "condor talk" for the next 30 minutes or so, while the condor circled overhead. We felt very lucky to get a peek at this remarkable bird.


Mr. CM said...

If you click on the top photo you can read the tag on the condor's left wing (-0). The rangers have a list of information about each condor. This condor (-0) is one of the few condors hatched in the wild since their reintroduction to the canyon. We could see the hatching place in the distance from our location on the rim.

Carol said...

Lucky you to see a condor in the wild. How exciting!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I would have been in heaven seeing such an amazing bird! So jealous!! :-)