Birding Column: California Condor Close Encounter

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Both Condors 176 and 235 were bred and reared at the Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho. They are both females. Condor 176 hatched on March 19, 1998, and was released into the wild on November 18, 1998 at Hurricane Cliffs, just north of the Grand Canyon and about 60 miles south of Zion National Park. Condor 235 hatched on April 30, 2000 and was released into the wild on December 29, 2000 at Vermilion Cliffs, about 60 miles east of Hurricane Cliffs in northern Arizona.

I learned this at the Peregrine Fund's web site (, which contains a feature called "Notes from the Field." Here, you can read about the progress of the Peregrine Fund's California condor restoration project, as reported by the field biologists who are actually doing the work.

For instance, on August 15, 2003, biologists observed a baby condor, estimated at 15 to 16 weeks old, in a remote cave in the Grand Canyon. Its parents are female Condor 127, hatched at the San Diego Wild Animal Park on March 31, 1995, and male Condor 123, hatched at the Los Angeles Zoo on May 20, 1995. The birds were released into the wild at Vermilion Cliffs on May 14 and May 26, 1997, respectively.

Well, on November 6, 2003, Condor 127 and 123's chick took its first flight (the first California condor chick to fledge in the wild since 1981), circling and landing 500-600 feet below its nest cave. It has been named Condor 305, and, as of December 23, 2003, it was doing just fine as its parents provide it with food and it learns to fend for itself.

Maybe someday they'll take it over to Zion for a visit.

Previous columns by the Birdman of Bel Air
New Bird-Watching Column: "The Birdman of Bel Air"
The California Towhee, Boldly Bland
At Home With Hooded Orioles
Scrub Jays Go Nuts for Peanuts
Northern Mockingbird is a Wary Neighbor
Christmas With the Pelicans
California-Quail Close Encounter
Yosemite Steller's Jay Encounter
Banding Birds at Devils Postpile

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