California Condor Release Set for Next Weekend

A California condor. | Courtesy of John Sherman

The public can get a rare glimpse of one of the world's rarest birds at an annual Northern Arizona event next weekend.

On Saturday, September 22, at 11 a.m., The Peregrine Fund will release captive-bred California condors from holding pens atop the Vermilion Cliffs, north of the Grand Canyon. (The event was originally scheduled for September 29, but it's been rescheduled to coincide with National Public Lands Day.)

The public can view the release from an observation area below the cliffs, along House Rock Valley Road (Bureau of Land Management Road 1065). Spotting scopes will be provided, but visitors can take their own scopes or binoculars. They also should bring sunscreen, water, a chair, a hat and layered clothing, The Peregrine Fund says.

As Arizona Highways reported in 2015, there are fewer than 100 California condors in the wild in Arizona and Utah. The species has been decimated by poisoning from lead bullets in carcasses scavenged by the birds, and the condors nearly went extinct in the early 1980s. The Peregrine Fund conducts releases of captive-bred condors every September, and the birds later make their way to places such as Navajo Bridge and the Grand Canyon's South Rim.

For more information about next weekend's release event, visit the Condor Cliffs Facebook page.

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