Out of Breath
then I see them...Soaring above
Majestic and Elusive
~ The Great California Condor
One of my goals as a traveling artist in the United States is to visit all 63 of the National Parks, and to paint them all! I will be doing full 18"x24" paintings inspired by my visits to the Parks, and I will also be including different animals, flora and fauna, etc. into my "A Never Ending Story" puzzle painting inspired by my visits to the Parks. Which is exactly what I did after visiting Pinnacles National Park in California and being graced with the presence of the endangered California Condor. I painted them on one of the puzzle pieces for "A Never Ending Story".
One of the most memorable, and inspiring moments of my Van Life, National Park adventures, was seeing the California Condor in the wild. Considering there are only around 300 condors left in the wild, I felt so privileged, and honored, to have been able to experience their mighty wings catching the wind and soaring high above me. It was truly one of the most magical moments of my life. Out in the serene beauty of Pinnacles National Park, alone amongst the towering rocks and the majestic California Condors circling the skies above, it was the perfect moment in time that I will never forget. I wasn't able to get up close, but just to see them dancing on the winds was such an inspiring experience. I plan on going back and visiting the East side of the Park, and hoping to see them up even closer!
The California Condors soaring above me at Pinnacles National Park
A little bit about the history of The California Condor, and the conservation efforts to save them from near extinction. They are a magnificent bird with a wingspan of up to 9.5 feet, was once on the brink of extinction. In the 1980s, there were less than 30 birds left in the wild due to habitat loss, poaching, and lead poisoning from scavenging on the carcasses of animals shot with lead bullets. But thanks to the tireless efforts of conservationists, the California Condor is making a comeback.
Image source: Britannica
One of the most successful conservation efforts for the California Condor has been a captive breeding program. In 1987, the last remaining wild birds were captured and brought into captivity to breed. The program has been incredibly successful, with over 500 chicks hatching in captivity since its inception. These chicks are raised in captivity until they are old enough to be released into the wild, where they can hopefully join the remaining wild population.
In addition to the captive breeding program, conservationists have also been working to reduce lead poisoning in the birds. This has involved encouraging hunters to switch to non-lead ammunition, as well as removing lead from the environment. As a result, the number of California Condors suffering from lead poisoning has decreased significantly.
Another key conservation effort has been habitat restoration. The California Condor's natural habitat includes rugged, mountainous terrain with caves for nesting and roosting. Conservationists have been working to protect and restore these habitats, making sure that the birds have the space they need to thrive.
Thanks to these and other conservation efforts, the California Condor population has slowly but steadily increased over the past few decades. Today, there are over 500 California Condors in the world, with more than 300 living in the wild. While the species is still considered endangered, the progress that has been made is truly remarkable.
I could see where the birds had been hanging out in these rock outcroppings
The conservation efforts for the California Condor are a reminder that with hard work, dedication, and a little bit of luck, it is possible to save species from the brink of extinction. These efforts are a testament to the power of human ingenuity and compassion, and they offer hope for the future of our planet and all of its inhabitants.
Image Source: Britannica
Collect the California Condor magnet piece to the epic "A Never Ending Story" puzzle along with all the other amazing animal pieces!
Click here to see all of the magnet puzzle pieces to collect
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