Condor Release Events

California condor
California Condor

2009 Condor Release
Saturday, September 26, 2009
East Side, Pinnacles National Monument

Join us as we attempt to release up to two California condors for their first flight into the wild.

Shuttles begin at 7:30 am. Please arrive by 8:30 am to allow for the 1.5 mile hike to the viewing area. The ceremony will begin at 10:00 am.

Bring water, hats, layered clothing, comfortable hiking shoes, and food. Binoculars are recommended.

Because we use a passive release method, there is a chance the juvenile condors may not leave the holding pen. Even so, there will be a good chance to see already free-flying condors.

In park transportation arrangements can be made for people with mobility impairments. Please call ahead.

We will hold a condor celebration regardless of the weather.

This date coincides with National Public Lands Day, and will be a fee-free day. For volunteer opportunities, please visit our volunteer page or visit the National Public Lands Day link above.

For camping information, visit our camping page or visit for reservations.

Lodging is available in the area, but there is also a very special opportunity to view our first condor nest through our friends group, Pinnacles Partnership.

For More Information
(831) 389-4486 x243
e-mail us

A biologist readies his tracking equipment in the observation blind on the morning of the release event.
A park biologist checks his tracking equipment during the 2007 condor release

Daniel cressman/The Pinnacle


Over 400 people made the journey to Pinnacles National Monument to attend this year's condor release event. A special viewing area within sight of the condor flight pen was opened up so that people could watch the condors join the free-flying flock of Pinnacles condors. Unfortunately, the juveniles that were candidates for release didn't cooperate, and no birds ended up leaving the flight pen.

Several of the free-flying Pinnacles condors were flying near the viewing area, though, which gave everyone a chance to see these endangered birds.

During a release, juvenile condors leave the flight pen by entering a double door trap. Once they decide to enter the trap, the inside door is closed and the door to the outside is opened. This minimizes human interaction with the birds, but makes the release events unpredictable.

The flight pen at Pinnacles National Monument on the morning of the release
The juveniles were active in the flight pen, but never entered the double door trap, which is the boxy structure behind the flight pen netting.

Photo by Daniel Cressman/The Pinnacle

Biologists had placed carcasses in the double door trap early on the morning of the release to entice the birds to enter it. Although many of the birds entered the trap in the early morning, none ventured back in later on when the release event was underway.

Over the next week or two, biologists will release the five juvenile condors that are living in the flight pen. The viewing area is now closed to the public.

We'd like to thank everyone who joined us for the release event. We appreciate your continuing support of the Pinnacles condors and the Condor Recovery Program.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

5000 East Entrance Road
Paicines, CA 95043


831 389-4486
Please call the number above for all park related inquiries. For camping questions contact the Pinnacles Campground at (831) 200-1722. For the park book store, please call (831) 389-4485.

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