Predator and Prey: The Condor and The Goat Lesson
Late last summer, as I was walking along the South Rim near Bright Angel Trail, two magnificent California condors soared through the azure sky; one landed on a sandstone outcropping facing the North Rim; the other on one facing east, toward Black Mesa. Standing as still as possible, I simply drank in the beauty of this natural predator coming home. Balance is being restored.
It was midday. Few shadows were cast on the Grand Canyon; all was silent. The largest condor was facing north, enjoying the view or perhaps he was thinking of flying there next. He was crouched with his back turned to me, almost like a cartoon character.
In the stillness, I suddenly heard tiny little clip-clap sounds as three male mountain goat kids rounded a slender trail hugging the sheer cliff wall. The first two passed by the condor without blinking an eyelash. The third snapped his head to his left, spying what looked to be a fun target, the back of the giant bird.
Head lowered to display his new horns, the goat took a few tentative steps toward the condor and then stopped. The condor continued to stare across the Grand Canyon, unruffled. Braver, the goat lowered his head once again and advanced. Still the bird didnt move.
Once again, the goat lowered his head, this time only a few feet from the condor, and the condor, hearing the little hooves, looked over his left shoulder, staring at the upstart. What do you really think youre doing?, I imagined the condor to say. Youre just about right for a snack, but, lucky for you, Im busy right now. Good you caught me in this mood otherwise So, go away, Junior. Youre bothering me.
The goats legs stiffened.
About that time, turning back toward the North Rim, the condor raised his enormous left wing, casting a long shadow over the goat. Then he lowered it next to his body again. The goat quickly turned and walked back to join his friends, wiser for the close encounter.
Now, thats nature
in action! I rolled with laughter
the condor and I continued enjoying our view of the North Rim.
Now, thats nature in action! I rolled with laughter and the condor and I continued enjoying our view of the North Rim.