Season's First California Condor Nestling at Vermilion Cliffs

A California condor. | Photo by John Sherman

The remote Vermilion Cliffs in Northern Arizona have a new resident: a recently hatched wild California condor nestling.

This is the first confirmed hatching of the endangered bird in the wild in Arizona this season. A biologist with The Peregrine Fund confirmed a sighting of the nestling and believes it was born around April 23.

California condors were listed as endangered in 1967. In the 1980s, their population declined to just 22 individual birds. The California Condor Recovery Program has helped save the species. The populations have slowly increased in Arizona since the first captive-reared birds were released into the wild at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in 1996.

As of December 2018, there were 488 condors worldwide, more than 88 of which can be seen flying in the Arizona and Utah skies.

California condors can live up to 60 years in the wild. The young birds take their first flight at about 5 to 6 months. With a wingspan of up to 9.5 feet, they are the largest flying land bird in North America.

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