birds of the canyon
arizona may 2003
identified with help from david minoli

california condors
this endangered species, once considered "functionally extinct" with only 22 individiuals surviving in captivity, has been reintroduced at the grand canyon --- there are 80 birds living in the wild, 35 of them in arizona. all of the birds at the canyon were raised in captivity, however, a fledgling condor may have been born this year. read the field notes.

the condors wing span can be as large as 9.5 feet, the white spot on the wing is actually an identification tag. you can learn more about california condors (Gymnogyps californianus) here and here.

are abundant at the canyon, especially on the south rim where we stayed. their almost irridescent black plumage constrasts with the subtle gradations of color displayed on the eroded walls of the canyon.

ravens (corvus corax)
are not only good looking,
they're smart too.

and a little creepy sometimes,
according to edgar allan poe

learn more about ravens here and here.

western bluebird
perched on a burned tree branch on the edge of the canyon.

the forest of tree skeletons was quite eery, but the bluebird seemed happy anyway.

black-necked stilts
(Himantopus mexicanus)

we spotted this extremely interesting pair of waterbirds living in the desert, in a canal at the pueblo grande archaeological site near the phoenix airpor. the hohokam people had a thriving civilization that relied on hundreds of miles of irrigation canals from the 1st through the 15th century.

black-necked stilts have an unusual profile in the air due to their long legs trailing down. this pair called to each other almost constantly when they were in flight.

return to newts, lizards & flies
cute, isn't he?