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Missouri birders may be interested in the following report, which I got from 
the OK list:

California Condor AZ Update - 15 March 2006



This condor update is provided solely for the purpose of disseminating 
information to project cooperators and other interested parties.   For media 
requests, please contact me directly at 928-214-1249 or [log in to unmask]





Condor Releases



On Thursday March 2nd at 1100 The Peregrine Fund released six condors at the 
Vermilion Cliffs.  This marked the annual public condor release.  Almost 200 
people attended the event, including personnel from many cooperating 
agencies and some media folks.  Three of the condors were re-releases - 
birds that were being temporarily held for behavioral reasons.  The 
remaining three birds were captive-reared birds released into the wild for 
the first time.  All six birds are doing well.  There are ten captive-reared 
condors still to be released this year.





Condor Breeding



It looks like condor breeding for the 2006 season has begun.  Multiple pairs 
are suspected to be incubating - more information will follow next month. 
There is still the possibility for up to five pairs to nest this year, 
although one potential pair has experienced a setback (see lead exposure 
section).  The next two months will reveal where we stand for breeding 
attempts in 2006.





Condor Lead Exposure and Lead Reduction Efforts



Three birds that were trapped late in the fall/winter season (due to their 
movement patterns) showed high lead levels.  All three showed signs of crop 
stasis and were treated at the Phoenix Zoo.  They each required two rounds 
of chelation treatments, and one required surgery.  Two of the birds are 
slowly improving and are back at the rehabilitation facility at Vermilion 
Cliffs.  The last bird to be captured (# 134) is still not out of the woods 
and remains at the Zoo (see The Peregrine Fund's "notes from the field" for 
details).  Condor 134 is a potential breeder for 2006 - obviously the 
likelihood of this is now greatly diminished.



Overall lead exposure numbers still declined this year - marking the first 
time since testing began in 1999 that lead exposure rates have decreased 
from the previous year.  It looks like our lead reduction efforts may be 
starting to make a difference.



The Arizona Game and Fish Department is sponsoring a non-lead ammunition 
shooting-booth at our upcoming Shooting Showcase on March 25-26 at the Ben 
Avery Shooting Facility north of Phoenix.  Federal Ammunition will donate 
the non-lead rifle and shot gun ammunition for shooters to try.  We will 
also display condor-lead educational material.  Chris Parish and I will 
attend the event and we hope to reach as many potential condor range hunters 
as possible.

Condor Movements



Before the snow hit, condors were visiting the South Rim of the Grand Canyon 
and Navajo Bridge with increased frequency.  Now that we're buried under two 
feet of snow, the birds may concentrate around the release site more.





News from California, Baja, and the captive flock



The only wild-fledged condor in California was brought into captivity last 
December after it appeared unhealthy.  The bird tested positive for West 
Nile virus titers (it was vaccinated the previous September).  It 
successfully recovered in captivity, was released recently, and has 
assimilated back into the flock.



Southern California has two condor pairs incubating eggs.  Production in 
captivity is also underway, with the first chick hatching at the end of 
February.





Condor Numbers



Total population - 273

Captive - 143

Wild - 130

   Arizona - 60

       10 awaiting release

   California - 57

         5 awaiting release

   Baja - 13



Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
[log in to unmask] 

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