This Saturday, September 24th, is National Public Lands Day. Thus, the Peregrine Fund and the Bureau of Land Management are hosting a celebration by releasing captive-bred California Condors at the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. The release is scheduled for noon, but I would recommend getting there one to two hours early.
Tim Hauck, the Program Director for the Condor Reintroduction Program, is quoted on the Peregrine Fund website as saying, “We currently have 113 California Condors flying the skies of northern Arizona and southern Utah. We’re excited that the population continues to grow and are monitoring several nests with young birds that have hatched in the wild this year. Adding these captive-reared birds to the wild flock helps to increase genetic diversity and overall success of the program.”
Those attending the event in person will have the opportunity to talk with condor biologists, learn about the birds and their habitat, and enjoy a festival-like atmosphere while waiting for the birds to take their first flight in the wild. The young condors being released were hatched at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho. Several partner organizations, including the Oregon Zoo, Los Angeles Zoo, and San Diego Zoo Safari Park, were also involved, and the condors were later transported to the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument to be released into the wild.
The California Condor Recovery Program was initiated in the 1980’s to save the species from extinction. At that time, the California Condor population was down to just 22 individuals! Currently, the total world population of California Condors numbers more than 550 individuals, with more than half of them flying free in Arizona, Utah, California and Mexico. It is a remarkable success story!
To get there, take Highway 89 north from Flagstaff to Highway 89A. Continue on 89A to Road 1065 and make a right turn. Continue north for almost three miles. Remember to bring chairs, a hat, sunscreen, snacks, water, and binoculars. I will be in attendance, along with my Swarovski Optiks sales rep, and we will provide an array of Swarovski spotting scopes to watch the release. We will also have Swarovski products available to purchase at the event. I hope to see you there!
Tonight (Thursday, September 22nd), the Prescott Audubon Society will be hosting its monthly membership meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the Trinity Presbyterian Church on Park Avenue. The guest speaker will be Mariana Altrichter, PhD, and she will present her research on the collared peccary—also known as javelina. Her presentation will discuss the life habits, ecology, distribution, and behavior of these fascinating and social creatures. There will be a half-hour social time starting at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is free and open to the public.
On a completely different note—If you are interested in having an amazing international bird watching experience, I have put together a trip to Panama the end of January 2023. Contact me right away if you are interested, as there are only three openings available.
As a reminder, the Jay’s Bird Barn 14th Annual Wild Bird Photography Contest submission period continues from now until Sept. 30. If you enjoy wild bird photography, I encourage you to participate. For rules and guidelines, either drop by the store and pick up the paperwork or visit our website at www.jaysbirdbarn.com.
As we move into fall this week, I encourage you to be on the lookout for white-crowned sparrows in your bird feeding areas. I have yet to receive any reports of white-crowned sparrow sightings, but I’m confident this is the week when they will start showing up here in the Arizona Central Highlands.
Until next week, Happy Birding!
Eric Moore is the owner of Jay’s Bird Barn in Prescott, Arizona. Eric has been an avid birder for over 50 years. If you have questions about wild birds that you would like discussed in future articles, email him at email@example.com.