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Know the West

It's a big bird

  Eleven California condors are cruising the skies over Grand Canyon all the way to Moab, Utah, after being released this year in northern Arizona. Biologists with the California Condor Recovery Project suggest bird-watchers travel Highway 89A north of the Grand Canyon between Lee's Ferry and House Rock Valley Road to see the carrion-eaters. Pull-out parking spaces and a bird-watching shelter are available to the public. U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Robert Mesta says it's not unusual for condors to travel 100 miles and return in a day. And Arizona's condors are getting stronger and learning to read wind patterns, he says. As they gain confidence, they will fly farther and sightings will increase. Mesta says the successful establishment of condors in Arizona - the only population outside California - is an excellent start in efforts to get condors off the endangered species list. Due to the program's success, four more young birds are scheduled for release in late November.

For more information, call the California Condor Recovery Project at 805/644-1766 or 602/789-3500. The Arizona Game and Fish Department periodically publishes the California Condor Project Update; write Nongame Branch, 2221 West Greenway Rd., Phoenix, AZ 85023-4399. Check out the Peregrine Fund home page at http://www.peregrinefund.org.