Posts Tagged ‘California Condor’

First, a quickie up-date and then I’ll tell you about the Bucket List thing.  We booted down to Phoenix yesterday to retrieve Bob’s other wife, Shari, from the airport.  From the time we left Flagstaff, to the time we reached Phoenix, the temperature went up 40 degrees, it poured rain, hailed, and then sunned upon us.  Weird day.  There was happy news, though.  The saguaro cacti were in bloom!!  It was amazing!  I’ve never seen that before on previous Phoenix excursions.

How cool is that??

Okay now let me tell you about the Bucket List.

In 1987 the California Condor was on the brink of extinction.  At that time, their numbers had dwindled to a mere 22 birds.  These remaining few Condors were rounded up and, in the most expensive rescue and repopulation program ever undertaken, bred in captivity, and then reintroduced into the wild.  Today they are still extremely endangered, but they number nearly 400.

Long before any of that had happened, I had read somewhere that the California Condor was the biggest bird in North America, with a wingspan of 9 feet or better, a body length up to 52 inches, and weighing, on average, 18 to 23 pounds.  I remember thinking how awesome it would be to see one someday.  So, way back before Bucket Lists were called Bucket Lists, I have had “see a California Condor” on mine.  I had all but given up on this quest in view of the aforementioned endangeredness.  Then!!!  I read online that if the gods were smiling and the stars appropriately aligned, there was a really really thin chance that one might get beyond lucky and spot one soaring over the Grand Canyon. I also read that that odds of that happening were negligible to the point of non-existent.  So I told Bob, “C’mon!  Let’s go find us a Condor!”  “A what?!” was his reply, but we all know that he is wise enough not to ask too many questions when things like this come bubbling forth, right?  Right!

Today, we went to the Grand Canyon!  This is what it looked like:

And this:

THEN!!!!  We saw this:

As you might imagine, I was going off my stick.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so fargin’ excited about anything!  It was absolutely mind-blowing!!

We learned that every one of the remaining Condors has a big number tag on each of its wings, as well as a transmitter for keeping track of all of them.

I am still just thrilled beyond words!

Later on, as we were leaving the Canyon Park area, I wanted to go back to the spot where these photogs were taken and see if we could see more condors.  This is what we encountered:

“Police line??”  What the heck??  Then we spotted this:

There was also a park ranger who was posted to guard the police line.  We asked her what was going on, and she told us (get this!!) that they were doing a body recovery!  I schitt you not!!  I said, “you mean a human body?”  She said that it was.  So, naturally, I wanted to know whether some poor unrequited lover had done a swan dive into the canyon, or had some moron like that tourist in Niagara Falls gotten carried away posing for an over-the-railing picture.  She said she didn’t know how he’d come to be dead and way down in the Canyon, but she said they figured he’d been there for about three days!  Well!  I suppose that explains why the Condors were hanging around just there, huh?  Nummy!