For the first time in perhaps a century, a California condor chick has taken flight in Arizona. Biologists from Grand Canyon National Park and the Peregrine Fund witnessed the departure, which took place in a remote canyon. The bird dropped from its cliffside nest for more than 500 feet before it found its wings and landed safely.
"It was spectacular," said Sophie Osborn, field manager for the Peregrine Fund. "Minutes after the chick landed it started to explore its environment."
The biggest concern was how long it would take for the parents to find the chick, but the mother spotted it two hours later.
Three pairs of condors produced eggs this year in Arizona, but two of the eggs did not hatch -- something not uncommon for condors in their early breeding years. "It is this chick and others like it in the future that ensure condor recovery in Arizona," said state Fish and Game Director Duane Shroufe.
-- J. Michael Kennedy