In July, we reported on the happy news that for the first time, Utah had two California Condor nestlings in one summer. Now, there’s more good news.
On August 28, the older of the two took its first flight, meaning it reached the critical stage of fledging the nest. The bird, known as Condor #1111, hatched in mid-April in a nest on a cliff in Zion National Park. The cliff is just north of Angels Landing, a popular hiking trail at Zion.
In 2019, 1111’s parents hatched and fledged a youngster known as Condor #1000, which was the 1,000th condor chick to hatch since the recovery program began in the 1980s.
Park rangers and volunteers are keeping a close eye on nestling #1111, who is estimated to be 4.5 months old. Although most condors take their first flight when they are about 6 months old, #1111 is still within the observed age range for fledging. Condor #1111 will continue to be dependent on its parents for the next 12-14 months. Because the adults spend so much time caring for their young, wild condor pairs normally produce one egg every other year.
“We are elated to see the continued success of this condor pair in Zion National Park,” said Tim Hauck, Condor Program Manager for The Peregrine Fund. “It is certainly an occasion for celebration in the recovery effort, yet again demonstrating the resiliency of the California Condor. What a spectacular site, to see wild-hatched condors soaring amongst the towering rock formations of Zion National Park.”
The mother of condor chick #1111, condor #409 (tag 9), hatched in 2006 at the San Diego Zoo and was released at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument release site in 2008. The father, condor #523 (tag J3), hatched in 2009 at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, and was released at the Vermilion Cliffs release site in Arizona in 2011. The breeding pair have been together for four years since 409’s first mate died from lead poisoning in 2016. This is condor 409’s fourth confirmed nestling.
The other young condor from this summer hatched in a nest east of Zion on Bureau of Land Management land. Hauck said its parents continue to care for it, and it is expected to fledge in early November.
Zion National Park officials remind rock climbers that all routes on the east face of Angels Landing remain closed until further notice due to condor activity.
To see more California Condors take flight, you can watch online or visit the 26th annual condor release at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument on Saturday, September 25.