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SW CA Condor Update - 2019-09 (September)

Condor Enthusiasts -

Please see the latest update on the Arizona/Utah condor population below including a summary of releases through the captive-breeding program, results and status of the 2018 and 2019 breeding seasons, and the size of the total population. All condors are identified below by WingTagNumber (StudBookID#_Sex_YearHatch). The wing tag is what you will use to identify the birds in the wild when observing them! The Stud book ID # is unique to each individual condor.
Crowds watch Vermillion Cliffs from afar waiting for the release of condors.
Over 700 people watch for the release of four captive-bred condors from the top of Vermillion Cliffs.

NPS photo / Desiree Espericuerta 2018

2018 + 2019 RELEASES:

The Peregrine Fund has successfully released 17 captive-bred condors into the wild from their release pen at the Vermillion Cliffs in 2018 and 2019!

  • T5 (826 f16), T2 (832 f16), T3 (833 f16), T6 (836 f16), T1 (843 m16), and 44 (844 f16) were released in March and April of 2018.
  • VO (880 ?17), V1 (855 f17), V2 (857 m17), and V3 (883 m17) were released on Septmeber 22nd, 2018 at a public viewing with the highest attendance ever. Over 700 people turned out for the release!
  • V9 (858 f17), VC (873 f17), V4 (884 f17), and VF (886 f17) were released in October 2018.
  • V+ (876 m17), V5 (885 m17), and VH (887 f17) were released in the spring of this year.
  • On National Public Lands Day, September 28th, 2019, The Peregrine Fund will hold a public release of captive-bred condors at the Vermilion Cliffs Condor Release Viewing Area off House Rock Road in Marble Canyon, AZ.
A condor flying with a full crop.
Condor H9 flies with a full crop. Condors carry food in a crop, a specialized pouch designed for storing food.

Photo © Gordon F. Brown 2018

BREEDING STATUS UPDATE:

2018:

Grand Canyon NP, AZ:

  • 80 (280 f02) + 87 (187 m98) successfully fledged X4 (954 ?18) in October 2018 from the Battleship formation. X4 is now one of the most frequently seen condors on the South Rim.
  • 47 (447 f07) + 03 (203 m99) fledged X5 (955 ?18) from Thunder River, who has been repeatedly seen on the Kaibab Plateau.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, AZ/UT:

  • H9 (496 f08) + 54 (354 m04) fledged 952 (?18) in Marble Canyon near the Navajo Bridge.

2019:

Vermillion Cliffs, AZ:

  • -6 (296 f03) + 66 (266 m02) hatched their fourth chick, #997, in six years!

Kaibab National Forest, AZ:

  • Two pairs, 89 (389 f05) + -3 (293 m03) and L3 (593 f11) + 43 (243 m01), are raising chicks #998 and #1001, respectively, on the east side of the Kaibab Plateau.

Zion National Park, UT:

  • 9 (409 f06) + J3 (523 m09) have produced condor chick #1000 near Angel's Landing! This is the 1000'th individually identified condor since the start of conservation efforts.
A juvenile California Condor flying in Grand Canyon National Park.
A non-tagged, wild-born juvenile California Condor soaring near Cheops Pyramid in Grand Canyon National Park.

Photo © Matthew Jenkins 2019

CURRENT POPULATION SIZE:

2019:

Arizona + Utah Wild Population: 92

Unfortunately, at this time we do not have numbers for California, Baja or the total captive population in 2019. However, here are the population sizes as of 2018:


2018:
California, USA (Wild): 188
Baja California, Mexico (Wild): 36
Total Captive Population: 176

Prepared by Cody Lane, Wildlife Program Field Assistant, Grand Canyon National Park (September 2019).

Last updated: March 2, 2020