Friday, December 30, 2005

Condor Progress

The San Diego Zoo reports that California Condors reintroduced to the Baja Peninsula of Mexico have begun to expand their range northward and may be seen flying in San Diego County for the first time since 1910. There are 4 groups of birds in the US and Mexico, all reintroductions descended from 14 birds. Eventually it is hoped that the southern California population and the Mexico population will meet up.

In 1985, while I was in High School, I took a weekend trip to California to try and see one of the last wild birds (I think they were down to 6). I flew a redeye People's Express from Hartford to Los Angeles for $99 round trip. I think my only food that weekend was a large package of hot cross buns I bought for a dollar. I did have to drop over 100 bucks to stay at Marina del Rey so I could take one of the fishing boats out. At a lookout in Los Padres National Forest I saw one of these magnificent birds, so large they look like a small plane. Within a few years all the birds were captured for the captive breeding program. Today there are about 270 birds, over 100 free flying.

photo from San Diego Zoo Website

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