Vultures snatch spotlight at Grand Canyon show

Many people know that the California condor is the largest bird that sailed the spacious skies of North America in modern history and that the huge bird nearly became extinct. The bird’s future is brighter now but remains so rare that few Americans have ever seen one, even in a zoo.

Now it’s possible to see two kinds of condors at one of their natural habitats: the Grand Canyon. For several years, lucky visitors have occasionally spied the great birds restored to the wild after successful captive breeding programs. Now there’s also a way to see a condor pretty much face-to-face, and with more certainty, through the Grand Canyon Condor Encounter at the Grand Canyon National Geographic visitor center, a mile south of the park’s main entrance on the south rim.

Joe Krathwohl, who has dedicated more than 30 years of his life to working with birds, doesn’t have one of the still-endangered and elaborately protected California condors; his star guest is its close relative: the Andean condor, itself a spectacular bird. And he’ll also introduce you to some of the other especially interesting avians sometimes seen in this part of the world, including a falcon, a crane, a pelican and an eagle.

You’ll learn a lot about all the birds but especially California condors. On the ground, these voluminous vultures stand more than 4 feet tall; in the air, their wings can span 9 1/2 feet! They usually nest in caves or crevices among steep cliffs or slopes and produce only one egg every other year. The largest threat to their continued survival is now thought to be lead poisoning. The lead from spent ammunition can be found in some of the carrion they feed on, leading to serious illness and death. To learn more about the California Condor and how you can help, visit

During his presentation, Krathwohl explained the incredible efforts of the Peregrine Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other pertinent agencies that helped the California condor back from the verge of extinction. In 1982, there were only 22 California condors in the world. Through the Condor Recovery Program, there are now 375. Of those, 194 live in the wild, 74 in the Arizona-Utah population around Grand Canyon. Captive-bred condors were first released in Arizona only 15 years ago, but now some condors are born and bred here; at least 13 are known to have hatched, and nine are still living in the wild here.

The Peregrine Fund is a private nonprofit organization whose many conservation programs include breeding and releasing California condors. The Grand Canyon Condor Encounter is a joint effort among that organization, the visitor center, Nature Valley and Krathwohl from Bird and Beast Productions. Krathwohl spent a year designing a program specifically for Grand Canyon visitors.

But the center has even more to offer. For 20 years, savvy visitors to the canyon have stopped here to see the 34-minute Grand Canyon IMAX movie, shown on a seven-story-high screen. More than 11 million people have watched the film, which takes viewers to extraordinary parts of the canyon they might not have the time or opportunity to visit personally.

The Condor Encounter show is open daily and runs about 20 minutes, starting at 10 and 11 a.m. and 1, 2, 6 and 7 p.m. A combo ticket to both the IMAX and bird shows is $16 for adults and $12 for children 6-12. The Condor Encounter show on its own is $9 for adults and $6.50 for children 6-12. Kids 5 or younger may see either show for free. The show runs through Sept. 18. For more information call 877-239-3235, 928-638-2468 or visit

Deborah Wall is the author of “Great Hikes, A Cerca Country Guide” and “Base Camp Las Vegas: Hiking the Southwestern States,” published by Stephens Press. She can be reached at

Incarcerated Christmas
This is the fourth year HOPE for Prisoners has worked with the Nevada Department of Corrections to create a Christmas for prisoners to visit their families. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
2018 Homeless Vigil
Straight From The Streets holds its 23rd annual vigil to remember the 179 homeless individuals who died in Clark County this year.
Getting through the Holiday blues
Psychologist Whitney Owens offers advice on keeping your mental health in check during the Holiday season in Henderson, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military
Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military program gave meal kits to 200 families at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10047 in Las Vegas Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. It all started with a chance encounter in a supermarket in Utica, N.Y., near Fort Drum. A soldier, his wife and infant had a handful of grocery items they couldn't afford. A Beam Suntory employee picked up the $12 cost for the groceries. The program has grown from providing 500 meal kits to military families in 2009 to providing more than 7,000 nationally this holiday season.K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women
An elegant Tea Party for substance abuse and homeless women at WestCare Women Children Campus in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Former 51s manager Wally Backman chats about new job
Former Las Vegas 51s manager Wally Backman talks about his new job with the independent league Long Island Ducks during the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 10, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside the kitchen at Springs Preserve
The staff of Divine Events do party preparation in the kitchen at Divine Cafe at Springs Preserve. With nine parties the following day, this is a particularly busy time for the crew. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Roy Choi on cooking for Park MGM employees
As he prepares to open his new restaurant Best Friend later this month at Park MGM, celebrity chef Roy Choi took the time to cook for the resort’s employees Tuesday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Great Santa Run
People participated in the 14th annual Las Vegas Great Santa Run which raises cubs for Opportunity Village.
World Holidays Exhibit At The Natural History Museum
Migratory Bird Day teaches adults and kids to celebrate birds
Different organizations offered activities for kids and adults to learn about birds and celebrate their migration journey at Sunset Park. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon
"Jackson: The Red Rock Canyon Burro" is a children's book about Red Rock Canyon (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Interfaith Amigos speak in Las Vegas
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like