The California condor, in flight

The Condor's Shadow

In 1982, the California condor population was down to only 22 birds—on the entire planet. By 1987, the species, the largest land bird in North America, was considered extinct in the wild.

In the years since, the bird's slowly been reintroduced into the wild in parts of California, northern Arizona and southern Utah. Now, a new documentary, The Condor's Shadow, examines the endangered species's enduring plight. Filmed in Southern California, the film chronicles one bird in particular—a condor named Pitahsi—and the efforts of biologists, zookeepers and scientists to save him and the rest of the population.

With breathtaking imagery—gorgeous canyons, desert landscapes and vibrant blue skies—the documentary follows the raptors' flight path to recovery. Happily, it also includes some squealworthy shots of baby condors. Because there's nothing like pictures of wee chicks to warm even the coldest of hearts.

The Condor's Shadow will screen on Saturday, September 28, at UC Davis' Sciences Lab Building Lecture Hall, room 123. The screening is a benefit for the California Raptor Center, part of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. In addition, there will be a post-screening question-and-answer session with filmmaker Jeff McLoughlin as well as Joseph Brandt, one of the biologists featured in the documentary. A special wine-and-cheese reception and raffle starts at 4 p.m. and costs $50 (which includes admission to the film; tickets must be purchased in advance). Admission to the film and subsequent question-and-answer session is $10. 1 Shields Avenue,