Return of the California Condor

California condor Grand Canyon

When I visited the Grand Canyon two years ago, I was treated to a rare sight: A California Condor sitting on a rock just 15 feet in front of us. It was huge – this thing could tear your face off.

I had no idea at that moment, but later research revealed it was one of only 322 such birds alive in the world. The Condors are a critically endangered species that now exists only in parts of California and Arizona and small patches of Utah and northern Mexico.

So I was super excited to see this CNN article last week noting that the Condor population has rebounded to almost 400 total and 200 in the wild (the rest are in captive breeding programs.) The article discusses the efforts to rebuild their population and some of the environmental issues that continue to threaten the birds.

As for that Condor I saw at the Grand Canyon (number A7, according to its tag), the ranger said he’d never seen one so close. In fact, he was concerned that it didn’t seem afraid of people. It hung around for at least 15 minutes. We walked off to take a few pictures, and when we came back it was gone. Hopefully it has gone on to have a healthy life.

California Condor Grand Canyon


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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

2 comments on “Return of the California Condor

  1. We’ve been seeing so many condors in South Amercia – first in Patagonia and then again in Iguazu. They are amazing! I know they are a different type here but probably quite similar too. You got some really great close-up shots
    Andrea recently posted..Montevideo’s Locks Fountain

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