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Condor Chick Fledges at Grand Canyon!

In one of the most anticipated events at Grand Canyon, a baby condor that hatched earlier this summer in a remote cave along the South Rim has now officially fledged. Park service biologists confirmed that the condor chick -- the first to hatch in Arizona's wilderness in perhaps more than a century -- took its first flight into the skies over Grand Canyon on November 5 at approximately 1:30pm. The chick jumped out of its nest looking like it wanted to land but there was nothing there. It ungracefully circled and landed 500 - 600 feet below the cave in a remote canyon.

Condor Chick spreads its wings
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"Our biggest worry after the chick left the cave was how long it would take for the parents to find it," stated Chad Olson, Raptor Technician for the National Park Service. "Both parents were away from the area when the chick fledged. To our great relief, female 127 flew to the nest about two hours after the chick fledged, realized the chick was not in the nest cave, immediately found it, and dropped down to feed it. Since fledging is such a dangerous time for the chick it is tremendous to be past this and on to another exciting phase." finished Olson. The chick is healthy and alert to its surroundings.

Biologists are planning to attach telemetry equipment and assess overall health issues of the newly fledged condor. The chick will be closely monitored. Biologists first suspected that Condors 123 and 127 were incubating an egg in March 2003. Daily observations were made, with assistance from a group of "Nestwatch" volunteers. The parents became very attentive to the nest in early May. The existence of the chick was confirmed on August 18 after biologists made an arduous 24-mile hike in 100 degree heat down to an area below the nesting cave. Daily monitoring continued.

Endangered Condors spend much of their time in Grand Canyon
Endangered Condors spend much of their time in Grand Canyon
"We are very pleased about this new step in the recovery of the California Condor species," stated Joseph Alston, Superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park. "We are proud to be a part of this highly anticipated and monumental event for both the park and the Colorado Plateau. We look forward to working with our partners in order to ensure the well-being of this new arrival to the condor population and to ensure continued success in the program."

The Grand Canyon National Park Foundation is a key partner in the effort to reintroduce California Condors to Arizona's wilderness. The Reintroduction Program began in 1996 when the Peregrine Fund first released captive-bred condors in the Vermilion Cliffs north of Grand Canyon National Park. "We celebrate the condor chick's first flight with Superintendent Joe Alston, Science Center Director Jeffrey Cross, GRCA Project Director Elaine Leslie, the Peregrine Fund, and all the other state and federal agencies whose combined efforts have brought this endangered species back from the brink of extinction," said Deborah Tuck, President of the Grand Canyon National Park Foundation. Since 2001, the Foundation has raised more than $67,000 for the Grand Canyon National Park to help monitor and protect condors inside the park. Funds are also used to help educate park visitors about the behavior and ecology of endangered condors and the importance of avoiding interactions with these extremely curious birds.

To learn more about the Condor Recovery Program and how you can help support the protection of these and other endangered species at Grand Canyon National Park, visit our projects page: www.gcnpf.org/projects/condor.html.
The chick pictured below took its first flight Thanksgiving Day 2004.
For additional information please contact us at:

The Grand Canyon National Park Foundation
625 N. Beaver Street, Flagstaff, Arizona 86001
(928) 774-1760,
info@gcnpf.org


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