August 29, 2011
One of the most inspiring comeback stories in the natural world continues to cheer the hearts and minds of birders and animal lovers as Pinnacles National Monument is inviting the public to come out and witness the release of two more critically endangered California Condors at Condor Comeback 2011.
With wingspans pushing 10 feet, making them the largest birds in North America, California Condors are perfect candidates for the phrase “they look good from afar, but far from good”— superb fliers with hideous mugs.
Added to the endangered species list in 1973, the once prevalent condor population dwindled due to hunting and exposure to lead ammunition left in gut piles. By 1987 there were fewer than 30 California Condors left in the wild, forcing conservationists and biologists to trap the remaining birds and develop breeding programs in California, Oregon and Idaho.
In a little under 30 years the carrion birds’ population has soared with 201 currently in captivity and 198 in the wilds of Arizona, Baja California and Central California, all thanks to breeding programs and the passage of laws banning the use of lead-based ammunition for hunting.
Pinnacles National Monument has been a true success story in the effort to save the California Condor. With the mating and nesting of previously released birds last year, the park continues to be a key player in the re-assimilation of captive-bred condors to their historic habitats.
The park is playing host to Condor Comeback 2011 on Sept. 24 from 9am to 1pm at the Pinnacles Visitor Center on the east side of the park. Two large video screens will be erected so the public can watch as a pair of one-year-old males and females make their way out and join the 30 condors that already call Pinnacles home.
For questions contact B.G. Horvat at 831-389-4486 ext. 267.
Photo by Sequoia Hughes