Thursday, June 9, 2011

The California Condor: A very Personal experience with one of the worlds most endangered animals

As a wildlife photographer, I am always looking for an opportunity to get close to wild animals. Several years ago, when rumors started to fly about California Condors frequenting the Kolob area near Zion National park, I decided to investigate and see for myself.

The first time I saw them, I found five, birds near a mountain cabin at the present viewing site. They were perched in the top of a tree and on the nearby rocks.

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I took several photos and was just admiring them when I heard the rushing of the wind coming from close behind me. I instinctively ducked, slightly as a giant pair of wings passed no more than two feet over my head.

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I can still remember feeling the air pressure change which caused me to lurch forward slightly as the condor passed by. It was a mature bird with a wingspan of over 9 feet and it landed on the fence not more than 30 feet in front of me.

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I got several close photos and the experience left me with a feeling of awe for this very special bird.

Since that time I have viewed and photographed condors many times. I have watched them as they perform aerial ballets for the crowds that gather to see them on “The Day of the Condor” and since this is not a scientific writing, I can tell you that I am convinced that they enjoy putting on a show for people. I think that that bird was intentionally messing with me when it flew so close over my head.

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Because of that first experience, I feel a tie with condors and I love to share these birds with others that may come away from the experience feeling a little stronger link with wildlife.

Come join us this year on June 18th for “The Day of the Condor” from 8 am to 12 noon at the Kolob viewing site just 21.5 miles north of Virgin, Utah for a chance to see and experience one of the rarest birds in the world.


  1. Great shots! Must have been an awesome experience, getting so close to these birds. They really are something...

  2. These are fantastic, Lynn! A year ago, I went with some friends down to Antelope Canyon. On our way home, we stoped at Navajo Bridge and spent a couple of hours with the Condors that live there. They are absolutely amazing birds. While we didn't get quite as close as you did, it was an incredible experience to watch them.

  3. What beautiful, fantastic, ugly as sin, incredible, and intimidating birds! That close-up where you can see his red eye makes it seem like something from a science fiction movie. :)