20 May 2010

Condors in Zion

I have a slight obsession with condors. I saw them in Bolivia back in 2006 and I have been taken by them ever since. So it was with great pleasure that I had a chance to see them on my recent Southwest Adventure. Geraldine and I hiked up the Angel's Landing trail in Zion National Park and found three condors near the summit. It was so much fun having a chance to see these birds and also having the opporunity to study them at length. I even tried my hand at digi-binning.

My lifer California Condor in Zion National Park found on 18 APR 2010. You can make out the wing marker as A3.

This one lone condor stayed perched for quite awhile before two more joined it. Once the three condors came together they took flight and rode the air currents. They gave me some great looks and I was even able to make out two of their wing markers. I sent the information into the USGS Banding Laboratory and they gave me some very interesting background information on the birds.

The perched California Condor had a wing marker #A3. She was hatched on 5-13-04 at the Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, ID. She was released on 10-12-05 at their Vermilion Cliffs site near the Grand Canyon in Arizona. One of the other condors that joined her also had a wing marker that I could read #99. He was hatched on 4-17-03 at the World Center for Birds of Prey and was released at the same site in AZ on 3-20-04. Both of these captive born birds are part of a larger recovery effort of the California Condor in its native range.

In the photo above the condors are just little specks. They circled directly overhead at one point and you can see their white feathers on the wings. Click the photo for a better view of the condors below to see some obvious ID marks.

It was a privilege to see these birds and something I will never forget. It was also really fun to learn a little history about their individual lives. If you want to support Condor Conservation please think about making a donation to the Peregrine Fund.


Out walking the dog said...

Fantastic! Seems very personal to be able to get background info on individuals like that. What gorgeous country, too.

Joy K. said...

I always imagine that they like to surprise people by looking so ungainly when on the cliffs, then jumping off and soaring into grace.

JSK said...

Condors are fascinating. And Zion is a wonderful location to find them. Thanks for sharing these great photos!