Condors,condor,california condor,condors

August 21 & 22 2004

First some information.

Scientific Name - Gymnogyps californianus
Family - Cathartidae [ New World Vultures ]
Wingspan - 9.5 feet
Life Span Possibly 60 years
Condors reach sexual maturity & attain adult plumage & coloration by 5 or 6 years old.
Generally, the immature Condor has a dark or blackish head instead of the adult bird's reddish head.
However, the adult Condor when cold can cause a black sheath to cover up its neck and head.
There is no discernable difference between the males and the females.
Unless your a Condor the way to tell the difference is with a blood test.
Condors are strict scavengers.
They find their food visually, they often will investigate the activity of other scavengers such as Eagles,Coyotes, Ravens.

If the Condors are flying overhead note the wing tag number.
Then you go to the Peregrine Fund Condor Project on the web at;
and learn all about the Condor(s) you may have seen.


Last year a nest here failed. The park biologist repelled down some 170 feet or more to this cave entrance to see what possibly may have gone wrong. Remains found in the nest cave were from the Pleistocene area which in geologic terms is from 10,000 to about two million years ago. The juvenile and adult condor remains were Carbon 14 dated from 11,000 to 23,000 years ago. Remains of at least three extinct mammals were also found in the cave, an extinct horse, bison, and brush ox.

I don't know, nor did I ask, if I could put down the names of the people that told this to me so I won't unless they ask me to.


The Condor nest site revisited at Hopi Point South Rim of the Grand Canyon.


This site does have 2 porta-pottys.


A corrected viewing distance has been established using binoculars that tell you the viewing distance in meters.

The nest or cave entrance is 5,150 ( five thousand one hundred fifty ) feet from the east rim of Hopi Point viewing area.

Seeing it through a scope, or binoculars, is hard enough, but trying to a photograph it is much more difficult.

Camera used, Nikon coolpix 5000, magnification unknown, why?? Because we took the photo through a amateur mirrored telescope.

Inasmuch as the coolpix 5000 has a cable release we were able to make the exposure with out touching the camera or telescope.

The camera was set on "P" the information on its screen said 125/of a second at f/8.
The zoom was at 3X or 4X optical which I think is max optical for that camera,
and I do not know any thing about the telescope's magnification.

Weather conditions were absolutely perfect, extremely bright, clear, sunny day some time between 2:00 and 2:30 p.m.

We only got two images, one without the female bird in it and one with both female & male plus the chick in both images.

The birds flew in and out in a matter of seconds so we had very little time to get any photos.


Must have some how jiggled the system a bit in this image or the telescope's focus got bumped, what ever it is a soft image.

Chick on the rock, male parent bird on left in front of rock.



Photographically speaking this whole thing lasted no more than a minute if that.


When caught later on in its life to be tagged and have a radio transmitter put on it; it will be number 350.
So, if you ever see number 350 flying over the Grand Canyon,
you can say you saw it when it was just a chick being fed in its cave nest site.


Back to what's on the site page.

About 10 days later.

Condor information page.

Tag number ID page of the wing tags