Hello Condor enthusiasts,
Once again, most of the information in this document comes from The Peregrine Fund's "Condor Cliffs" Facebook page atwww.facebook.com/condorcliffs.
As usual, highlights are in bold.
Population numbers from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, as of June 30, 2012:
World Total: 417 (a new record!)
- Captive Population (including birds temporarily in captivity): 184
- Wild Population: 233
- California: 132 (including 11 chicks)
- Baja California, Mexico: 25
- Arizona/Utah: 76 (now 77) counting 2 (now 3!) confirmed chicks
Arizona Breeding Season News:
We have a third confirmed chick! But the nest of female 296/tag -6 and male 266/tag 66 in the Vermilion Cliffs failed since my last update. Our three 2012 chicks are:
· #659: Offspring of experienced breeders 126F/26 and 114/tagless in a new cave in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Hatch date: c. 4/4/12.
· #660: Offspring of female 133/tag 33 and male 187/tag 87 in a west-facing cave in the Redwall limestone below Grand Canyon Village, Grand Canyon NP. This chick is sometimes visible through a spotting scope from Indian Garden Campground or from Powell Point on the Hermit Road.
· #674: Offspring of female 210/tag 10 and 287M/-7. 674 is being raised in the same Tapeats Creek, Grand Canyon National Park cave that 210F & 134M (who later disappeared) used successfully in 2007. Peregrine Fund biologist Shaun Putz braved the heat of the inner canyon to spot this chick on July 17.
The Arizona/Utah condor population suffered two fatalities in June (suspected coyote predation & lead poisoning), plus thepermanent removal to captivity of a recently released 2-year-old. And the second of last year's two chicks was tagged.
· Male 571/tag K1: As reported on Condor Cliffs June 3, this "two-year-old released for the first time this spring, has beenpermanently removed from our wild population and will be held in captivity at a zoo facility. He showed consistent behavior that made him unfit for survival in the wild, and instead of waiting for his almost certain demise, we made the decision to remove him from the population."
· Male 552/tag K2: Coyote-scavenged carcass of this 2-year-old bird released February 24 was found on June 17.
· 7-year-old female 381/tag C1: Chris Parish of The Peregrine Fund reports "June 19, 2012 - Grand Canyon dispatch relayed information that Condor #381F … was reported to have been observed on the previous evening on a beach in South Canyon in rather poor condition. The next morning she was found dead. After a first failed attempt at recovery in the 100 plus degree heat, two TPF biologists were successful in recovering the carcass on Friday 22 June 2012. The carcass was intact and radiographs revealed what appears to be an intact pistol bullet … in the area of the ventriculus suggesting ingestion, but we'll let the pathologists determine what they can." Condor Cliffs displays the x-ray image showing the pistol bullet. As posted by The Peregrine Fund biologists, this is likely "not a hunting issue or season- animals are dispatched or put-down all of the time, and this is probably one of those cases."
· #634, last year's Battleship chick (Grand Canyon NP), now wears tag L4. Posted on Condor Cliffs on June 26:
"Last week we trapped for the first time ever the last tagless, previously untouched, wild condor in our population from last breeding season- wild-produced condor 634. After a quick bloodlead test that revealed minimal background levels, application of new tags (L4) and transmitters for daily ...movement tracking- we released him/her with a clean bill of health." A brief video of 634 being re-released was also posted on Condor Cliffs on June 26.
Grand Canyon NP Condor Talks:
On the South Rim, Condor Talks are offered daily this summer at 5:00 pm at Lookout Studio.
On the North Rim, Condor Talk takes place daily on the terrace of Grand Canyon Lodge at 4:30 pm.
On the South Rim, condors are being seen frequently, as is usually the case in July.
Updated Condor Chart:
I've updated the chart of California Condors in AZ/UT by Tag # as of July 26, 2012:
Download it here: https://www.nps.gov/grca/naturescience/upload/CondorChart20120726.pdf
The San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly the San Diego Wild Animal Park) still has a webcam on one of their condor chicks, which hatched on March 10, 2012. Check it out at: http://www.sandiegozooglobal.org/video/condor_cam. When it fledges and is no longer visible, you can read about that too on their blog.
Good luck spotting some condors!Marker Marshall
Park Ranger (Interpretation)
Grand Canyon National Park