A few years ago, Daughter Number Two and I stood on the rim of the Grand Canyon and said, “Holy Cow!”
It was a hit to remember.
As Daughter Dear and I sat on the rock wall overlooking the canyon, she wrestled with a brazen chipmunk who came right up to her and grabbed her bagel. He was determined to get it. She wrestled with him, but finally, she relinquished it.
Sitting there, we watched a Condor flying elegantly overhead, with hardly a wing flap, glide on the updrafts of that magnificent canyon.
Through my camera zoom, I could read the number attached to its wing, 51, as I remember, but I’m unsure. I know, however, that the number indicated that it had been raised by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife California Condor Recovery Program.
Condors are America’s largest bird, with a wingspan that can reach 10 feet with the bird weighing around 22 pounds. They aren’t the prettiest bird, resembling vultures with a redhead and naked necks, for they are carrion eaters—a Natural recycling system. They lack the strong talons and beaks of hawks and eagles and depend on finding carcasses for food. They have never been known to attack a live animal and have been known to fly 140 miles in one day to find food.
In 1967 they were listed as endangered.
By 1982 only 22 condors survived in the wild.
Five years later, all remaining condors were captured in The Fish and Wildlife program conducted at the San Diego and the L.A., Zoos. It was a program to raise and release the chicks into the wild. Condors lay only one egg a year, so if that egg doesn’t hatch or is taken by predators, the condor population loses a year.
Once in a while, if an egg is taken from the nest, it will stimulate the female to lay a second egg, which researchers leave to be raised by the parents.
One chick, known as number 909, was abandoned—parents killed? I don’t know. After 18 days, the keepers at Region Zoo’s Jonsson Centre for Wildlife Conservation stepped in.
They used a puppet as its feeder and parent to keep the chick from bonding with humans
In 2004 the recovery program reached a milestone with the first successful chick hatched in the wild.
In 2008 more condors were flying free than in the program.
And there we were, witnessing a miracle brought about by the human hand.
We have lift off.
Not to be undone by the first miracle of the day as we hiked the rim of the canyon, suddenly, from the abrupt edge to our left, three bull elk, magnificent in their spring velvet antlers, appeared. The hikers on the path stopped in sacred silence. We all watched those tremendous animals walk within twenty-five feet of us, cross the trail, and wander into the forest. I got a postcard-perfect picture of one elk who poised for me; alas, it became lost in a melted camera in Hawaii. (A fish story? Not.)
And then, as we stood overlooking the vastness of the canyon and down to the mile or so space between us and a tiny little river snaking its way through the canyon’s floor, I thought about how in school they told us that little river had forged its way through limestone to create the Grand Canyon.
I questioned it then, and I doubt it now. And I have more data now.
According to some geologists/archaeologists, the canyon was caused by a catastrophic event. I don’t like the idea of cataclysms either, but according to some, the Ice Age ended with a Great Deluge. The Great Lakes filled to overflowing, and water rushed through the Midwest and into the area that became The Grand Canyon and onto the ocean.
Some believe that water rushing into America also widened the Columbia River Gorge, creating the vast expanse between Oregon and Washington.
Rushing water could also have caused the demise of the land Bridge called The Bridge of the Gods. However, a landslide (The Bonneville slide) is believed to have blocked the river. Eventually, the river wore through it, leaving a bridge behind. Later it collapsed.
According to Native American Legend, a natural bridge called Tanmahawis once spanned the Columbia River and had trees growing on the top. Now it has a not-so-elegant-looking steel bridge commemorating the land bridge’s passing–and making another way to cross the river.
It’s an elegant name, though, The Bridge of the Gods—a way to connect Oregon and Washington.
Regarding the condors, since 1992, when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began reintroducing captive-bred condors to the wild, the USFWS and its public and private partners have grown the population to 410 birds.
As of the end of 2019, there were 518 condors in the world, with 337 flying free in the wild.
We need to take another trip to the Grand Canyon.
‘A‘ohe hana nui ke alu ‘ia.
“No task is too big when done together by all.”
Our Real Estate site. I knew Instagram was supposedly all original pictures, but duh, I put a cat house on it, that I didn’t photograph, and they kicked me off. I apologized and took the picture off, and they let me back on. From now on, all original pictures. You can, however use altered images–from Canva. I learned that Pet Architecture was coming into vogue–like a tunnel from the house to the outside and into a screened structure. A dog washing station is a good selling point. Seventy-five percent of buyers will not consider a dwelling that is not pet-friendly.