an endangered species saved

An almost mythical sight when spotted aloft its 10-foot wingspan, the odyssey of the California condor epitomizes man's impact on wilderness. It's an epic of allowing something majestic almost slip away, then loudly answering the mandate to recover it.

Today the condor again casts a wild shadow over the west, buoyed by the updrafts of those who answered the call of preservation.

Many challenges remain for the condor. The Condor's Shadow chronicles how a driven few are working against the odds to help the iconic species fly free once again. More >>

The Condor's Shadow


  • Pitahsi entering her nest Pitahsi entering her nest
    Condor 79, "Pitahsi" plays a lead role in the film's narrative
  • Myra Finkelstein Myra Finkelstein, Ph.D.
    Myra's research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, definitively connects the dots between lead ammunition and presistant health
    issues in condors
  • Condor 79 - Pitahsi Condor 79 - Pitahsi
    The oldest female California condor in the wild
  • Chandra David, Zookeeper Chandra David, Zookeeper
    At the Los Angeles Zoo with Condor 112
  • Handling condor Handling a condor for a health check
    The ongoing challenge of lead poisoning requires that California condors be trapped and tested routinely
  • 0 Biologist Joseph Brandt
    On rappel into a condor nest within the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge
  • Anthony Prieto Anthony Prieto
    A broad range of contributors to the California condor's recovery define the programs success.
  • California condor California condor
    Striking in appearance, the condor predates man's presence in North America
  • 0 Bruce Rideout, DVM, Ph.D.
    Comments in the film on the persistant threat of lead to the condor
  • 1 Biologist Blake Massey
    At the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge
  • 2 Sampling Feathers
    Research on environmental contaminents involves collecting feather samples from California condors
  • 4 Pre-release workup at LA Zoo
    Joseph Brandt works with keepers at the Los Angeles
    Zoo to prepare a condor for release into the wild
  • 5 Biologist Geoff Grisdale
    Field workup of a California condor at the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge
  • Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge
    Southern California release site for the California condor
  • Biologist Joseph Brandt Biologist Joseph Brandt
    Lead field biologist for the Southern California condor program
  • Zookeeper Michael Clark Michael Clark, Zookeeper
    Mike Clark has over twenty years of experience in the care and breeding of the California condor
  • Lead tester readout Lead Testing Device Used in the Field
    The primary source of mortality in California Condors is lead toxicosis
  • Condor Soaring California Condor in Flight
    There's nothing quite like watching condors soar...

Hundreds of individuals have contributed to the recovery of the California condor. Just a few who have a role in the Southern California recovery effort are featured in The Condor's Shadow. They and a feisty condor named "Pitahsi" provide a window into what endangered species recovery looks like for the rarest of North American birds.   
More >>

Film Clips

Ria Bonner on condor nest observation.

Additional Film Clips >>

California Condor Timeline

Infographic with California Condor timeline (Click here to enlarge)

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Screening Opportunities

Condor, Film & Friends

Schedule a screening
In additional to film festivals, The Condor's Shadow has screened nationwide at events sponsored by local Audubon chapters, ornithology groups and environmental orginaztions.

Dolly the 3 yr. old California condor

When possible we follow the screening with a Q&A with experts such as Joseph Brandt, USFWS Condor Biologist, Mike Clark, LA Zoo Condor breeding specialist and Filmmaker Jeff McLoughlin. Please send us a note if you have an interest in hosting a screening. Costs can be minimal and admission can be charged when appropriate to the venue. Here is a partial list of past screening venues.


Television Broadcasts:
The Condor's Shadow has been broadcast on PBS SoCal and KQED in the San Francisco Bay Area with generous underwriting by Audubon California.
Audubon California

The Condor's Shadow has been licensed for broadcast by American Public Television which provides programs to independent PBS affiliates nationwide. Look for the film on your local PBS station. The film is also currently being broadcast internationally in Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia.

The Condor's Shadow tells one of
the great conservation stories of
the last century and also presents the scientific challenges of endangered species restoration in a human context accessible to all viewers.

Mark Madison, Ph.D.
U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service Historian
National Conservation Training Center
American Conservation Film Festival Selection Committee Chair

Buy the Condor's Shadow on DVD

Buy the Film on DVD

The Condor's Shadow DVD is currently only available for purchase by libraries and educational organizations.

Social Media

Captures the interplay between science and human values, along with the dedication and passion of the scientists involved with conserving this iconic species.

John D. Perrine, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor Biological Sciences
California Polytechnic State University