Condors in the Canyons

Mar 13, 2017

Essayist Andrew Gulliford ponders the past, present and future of the ancient bird, now thriving again among northern Arizona's Vermillion Cliffs.

 

The California condor has a wingspan of up to 11 feet.
Credit Courtesy of Chris Parish, Peregrine Fund

An ongoing effort to reintroduce one of nature's largest birds continues in a remote part of northern Arizona.

 

A group known as the Peregrine Fund raises the birds in captivity, then releases them and monitors their progress as they mature, nest and reproduce at the Vermillion Cliffs.

A portion of the miles-long escarpment serves as the perfect place for the giant birds of prey, with a wingspan of up to 11 feet, to make their triumphant comeback.

The California condor was nearly extinct just three decades ago, but their populations are booming again in Arizona, Utah, and California, thanks to a 20-year-old federal reintroduction program.

Southwest Sampler essayist Andrew Gulliford considers the California condor's success among the Vermillion Cliffs. He contrasts the bird's new habitat with our human need for open space and solace.

KSUT's Southwest Sampler is an ongoing series of short audio commentaries on the history, landscape and people of the region.

 

Find archives of Southwest Sampler essays here.