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Photographer's Note

After a steep climb down and up again from the south rim of the Grand Canyon, I was surprised by this huge condor flying right over my head landing almost nex to me (a bit higher luckily).
What a creature!!
In the early 1980s, condors were nearing extinction with only 22 left in existence. To save this magnificent bird, the federal government undertook a captive breeding program, managed by the Peregrine Fund, and in 1996, birds were reintroduced into the wild. Surrounding the Arizona release site at the Vermilion Cliffs just north of the park, the canyon lands of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah comprise an immense region of suitable condor habitat. But the birdsí apparent preferred location is Grand Canyon National Park.

Some facts about the bird:
California condors (Gymnogyps californianus) are the largest land bird in North America with a wingspan of 9 1/2 feet and weighing up to 22 pounds. Adults are primarily grayish-black except for triangle-shaped patches of white underneath their wings. These patches are visible when condors are flying overhead and offer a key identification characteristic. Males and females are identical in size and plumage. The bare heads of condors are grayish-black as juveniles and turn a dull orange as adults.

Condors are members of the vulture family and are opportunistic scavengers, feeding exclusively on dead animals such as deer, cattle, rabbits, and large rodents. Using thermal updrafts, condors can soar and glide at up to 50 miles per hour and travel 100 miles or more per day searching for food while expending little energy. When not foraging for food, condors spend most of their time perched at a roost. Cliffs, tall conifers, and snags in Grand Canyon National Park serve as roost sites.

ChrisJ, magiqa ha contrassegnato questa nota come utile

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Additional Photos by Femke van der Horst (femkevdh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 827 W: 0 N: 417] (2633)
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