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California Condor

Posted by Teri Franzen on November 20, 2015 at 4:19 pm
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Flight of the Relic: With its ancestors dating back to the Pleistocene epoch, seeing the California Condor in flight is something akin to witnessing the animation of an ancient fossil. I can imagine this species foraging in the remains of Woolly Mammoths. Of course the reality is driven home by the tags on this bird’s wings. Thirty years ago these Condors were nearly extinct, and they were extinct in the wild. It is only due to the dedicated efforts of conservationists that I recently had the immense privilege to witness these great birds flying free over the Colorado River. In the 1980s all of the remaining approximately 20 California Condors were brought into captivity. At that point an intense captive breeding program was launched. Due to the great success of this program, within the next decade a few of these birds were able to be released back into the wild. And now the population has grown to > 400, many of whom are living and breeding in Arizona, Utah, California and Baja, Mexico. These birds are still at a risk of extinction and nationally classified as “Critically Endangered.”

Photographed at Navajo Bridge in Vermilion Cliffs, AZ. October 2015. Canon 7D Mark II using a 100-400mm IS II lens at 170mm and handheld.