Illustration by John-Ross Boyce

Vultures – they look like old men with beaks, even when they are young. Known as scavengers and bad omens for those lost in the desert, the members of this bird family have a godlike power and majesty that allows them to age into their bald and wrinkled heads – in addition to growing old naturally.

Andy, the Andean Condor, one such member of this family, will be celebrating his 52nd “bird day” on Jan. 22 at Tracy Aviary.

The bird’s deep black plume, white collar and ten-foot wingspan make Andy a beautiful and rare sight for many due to the vulture’s near endangered status. For convenient adventure seeking Utahans, the Tracy Aviary is the place to see these birds of prey in person.

Andean Condors have pretty long life spans, living an average of forty to fifty years normally, and as many as seventy years in captivity.  Andy has resided at Tracy Aviary since 1960, which makes him the oldest bird there. He’s also one of the oldest Andean Condors currently living in any zoo or aviary. Apparently, carrion is a much healthier diet than previously thought.

The Tracy Aviary will have different activities between 1-3 p.m. that day for both visitors and birds alike, including a bird show, a special cake presentation for Andy and a birthday card contest. Part of the festivities involve a special presentation by the Condor Conservation Campaign and will take place at the Chase Mill on the main floor.

Those interested in the campaign can purchase $5 or $1 feathers to cover the “naked Andy” as donations.

For more information about this party and other bird exhibits currently at Tracy Aviary, visit or call 801-596-8500. Admission is $5 for adults and $4 for students.