While the World quarantined, the Grand Canyon – and nature overall – replenished. Already, the Grand Canyon was different every time one viewed it, and this has never been more true than now, fresh off the Park closing. With human beings far and few between along the trails, wildlife has become apparent in a new, and obvious way. Were condors out in such numbers last year? And every rim hike is held up by elk grazing alongside the trail.
The Himalaya Mountains are visible in Northern India for the first time in nearly every local’s memory. One side effect of the world-wide quarantine is a clearer, more vibrant state of nature. The Grand Canyon and associated wildlife have felt the boost of cleaner air, less intrusion to the natural setting, and the results are in the air and on the ground. There is something new and invigorating here to see and experience.
The Condor, once dwindled in number to 22 in the 1980’s. There are now 335 living in the wild, along with another 130 in captivity for breeding. Grand Canyon National Park, as well as Zion, Bryce and others, have joined up with San Diego Zoo and The Peregrine Fund to collectively assist the condor comeback. Now they are soaring in numbers not readily recalled by even the local Native Americans.
Walking down Hermits Rest, out toward Powell Point, and to Hopi Point, the condors are there to be seen. Maybe at some point, a century or so ago, seeing a family of condors soaring quietly above the Canyon, gliding about each other in concentric circles was a common sight, but they went unnoticed before, or were not readily visible, after seeing at least one three days in a row the week of April 21. Another day, less than a week later we counted five at one sighting.
The California Condor was almost given up on a few decades ago. Each Condor now in the wild is closely monitored and tagged with an identification number. They are easy to spot, due to their size, and are as likely to be seen along the rim, as they are hovering a couple thousand feet down.
The Condor’s comeback is being prominently put on display daily at the Grand Canyon, and there has never been a better time to see it for yourself as the Grand Canyon National Park reopens.