Remembering Andy N Condor
Update January 2024: We are commissioning a statue of Andy so that his many friends around the world (that’s you!) will be able to visit him for years to come. The statue will cost about $40,000, so we need your help. Learn more and donate here.
We are deeply saddened to announce the death of the beloved and long standing resident of the Aviary, 64-year-old Andean Condor, Andy N. Condor. According to his keeper, Helen Dishaw, Andy died in his sleep early Thursday of natural causes.
Andy N. Condor hatched at the San Diego Zoo in 1959 and arrived at Tracy Aviary in 1960. While originally part of a breeding program for the threatened species, Andy preferred the bachelor life and chose to live alone. Andy was an ambassador for his species helping to educate Tracy Aviary visitors as well as his more than 20,000 Facebook fans about the crucial role vultures play in maintaining healthy ecosystems. He was well known to condor lovers around the world and received hundreds of birthday cards and greetings from his fans each year.
In 2011, Andy formed a special bond with Tracy Aviary staff member, Helen Dishaw and the two began a long-standing tradition of taking morning walks together around the Aviary grounds. Often joined by other staff members, visitors, and even dignitaries, Andy’s curiosity and gentle nature inspired and delighted anyone who encountered him.
“Walking with a condor is an unforgettable experience,” said Helen Dishaw. “I count myself truly the most fortunate person to have had the honor of walking alongside my friend Andy every day. It is a cherished memory that I’m glad we were able to share with so many. His legacy will live on in the hearts and memories of those who knew him, and he will be forever missed.”
A “celebirdy” in his own right, Andy was photographed by thousands of people, and in 2014, National Geographic photographer, Joel Sartore came to document Andy for the magazine’s Photo Ark project. In addition to photography, Andy has been immortalized in many other mediums including oil paintings, sculpture, and apparel. Caffé Ibis even created a coffee blend, Condor Coffee, in his honor. In 2013, Salt Lake City editorial cartoonist, Pat Bagley dedicated his cartoon to Andy for his 54th “hatch day” and is credited with giving Andy the “N” in his name.
Andy’s keepers shared that they are thankful Andy enjoyed life until the end – eating and interacting with staff right up until the day before his death. Tracy Aviary hopes the public will understand that they are heartbroken and need time to grieve, and therefore will not be immediately available for interviews.
The Aviary also acknowledges that there are many Andy fans around the world who will also be saddened by the news of Andy’s death and Tracy Aviary staff are working on plans for how to best celebrate Andy’s life and honor his memory in the coming weeks.