Series: California Condor, Arizona/ Utah population updates

Condor Enthusiasts -

Thank you for your patience in waiting for updates while we get back up to speed with new staff.

VERMILLION CLIFFS NATIONAL MONUMENT, AZ:

NEW RELEASES TO THE WILD:

  • September 2016: 761 & 802. 761 has been foraging away from the release site, on the Kaibab Plateau, with others in the population. 802 has stayed in the Vermilion Cliffs. Both are feeding and roosting well.
  • November 2016: 613 & 801. Both birds left the release site and headed east on the Vermilion Cliffs where they encountered challenges such as territorial golden eagles and condors. After 2 weeks in away from the feeding site and lots of practice flying, they both finally made it back to feed and have been doing very well since.
CAPTIVE CONDORS IN THE RELEASE PEN:

Condors to be released in the spring: 535, 757, 775, 776, 786, 790
Mentor Birds: 61, 727

DEATHS:

All of the following deaths were due to lead posioning.
Male 193 (born 1998)
Male 337 (born ??)
Female 409 (b. 2006)
Female 496 (b. 2008)
Female 593 (b. 2011)

MISSING, PRESUMED DEAD:

516, 657, 677, 698, 709 and 719 have not been seen since April of 2015

2016 BREEDING STATUS UPDATE:

  • Zion National Park: Condors 337 (Deceased)/ 409 nested near Bridge Mountain. Last visual of Chick 848 was on the 22nd of September (one month before predicted fledge date) before a strong storm moved through the region. After weeks of searching and monitoring the movements and behavior of the parent, we have seen no sign of the chick.
  • Vermilion Cliffs National Monument: Condors 193 and 126/241 nested near Buckskin Wash. Nest failed.
  • Vermilion Cliffs National Monument: Condors 266/296 nested near Paria Plateau. Lay date is estimated to be March 18, 2016. Chick 849. Fledged on the 27 Oct 2016 and has been moving around the nest area since then, even returning to the cave. Has acquired the skills to make small flights and controlled landings. Both Parents are seen feeding the fledge regularly.
  • Grand Canyon National Park: Condors 187/280 nested on the Battleship formation. Nest was abandoned early on.
  • Grand Canyon National Park: Condors 123/ 297 nested on the Dana Butte formation. Nest was abandoned early on.
  • Grand Canyon National Park: Condors 423/ 521 nested on the Newton Butte formation. Predicted fledge date of November 8th. Chick 850 was no longer in the cave on November 12thafter having visuals of the chick flapping vigorously on the 11th. In the following weeks both parents have been visiting the nest area at a high frequency and making trips to both the Kaibab Plateau and Kolob to forage and then return to Newton Butte. It is highly likely the fledgling is doing well, but no visual post fledging due to the difficult orientation of the nest area from the rim.
  • Grand Canyon National Park: Condors 203/ 447 nested near Deer Creek/ Thunder River. Predicted fledge date was November 1st. There have been no visuals on the chick and it is unknown if it fledged or survived.

2017 BREEDING STATUS UPDATE:

  • Grand Canyon National Park: 280/ 187 have been observed copulating and initiating courtship behavior from Indian Gardens. They have attempted to nest on the Battleship formation the past 3 years.
  • Vermilion Cliffs National Monument: 123/ 127 also seem to be showing promising coupling/ mating behavior.

CURRENT POPULATION SIZE:

AZ/UT wild population: 83
Unfortunately, at this time we do not have the other numbers (California; Baja, Mexico; total wild, or total captive).

Miranda Terwilliger, Wildlife Biologist
Division of Science and Resource Management
Grand Canyon National Park