The Tall Birds
by Tsimi James
Spring of 1980
The Tall Birds
On a early spring day while driving a little Opal Cadet 5 speed for a test drive,
my wife & I drove up the Walla Walla river road to a turn called Cash Hollow,
which led up the hill south toward Basket Mountain.
It had been raining and the road was muddy, so I kept the little car running in 3rd
gear & pushed it a little as we neared the bottom of a uphill grade that led to the
Basket Mountain turn off.
It’s a pretty steep uphill grade so I pushed the car faster to keep from sliding off the road.
As we neared the top of the grade, I was going pretty fast, and decided to slow down a bit as we neared the split in the road looking like a large Y.
Just as we got to the top of the grade, I looked toward my left to see if any traffic was coming down the Basket Mountain side, and what I saw shocked me!
I stopped the car & as I did told my wife to look up toward the left.
What we seen, were two very large black birds, standing about 300 yards up the road from us, in the middle of the Road.
They both were solid black, with leather looking faces with beaks, like any other bird.
But these birds were at lease 7 to 8 feet tall, maybe bigger , standing side by side in the middle of the road, looking toward us as we topped the grade where they could see us.
We surprised them as much as they surprised us!!!
They both looked like they jumped up or pushed off the ground with their feet... into the air
spreading their wings as they jumped, wing span of 18 to 20 ft and started making a circle together, going higher and higher as they circled.
I grabbed a pair of 10x50 field glasses and filled the lens with both of them as they went higher into the sky until they were so high that I had to have the glasses to make them out.
I have never seen such large birds of that kind at all in that area, and I go up there often just to drive around the mountain roads.
I never did find out what kind of birds they were, but many of the people I talked to about them, thought they may have been California Condors.
I looked up condors in the library and didn’t see any thing that looked like what we saw that day.
I went back up there many times just to see if I could get another look at them, only took a camera with me each time after that first sighting.
I never did see either of them again, but it did give me another true story to write about, and a very interesting memory of the time I saw two of the largest birds I have ever seen in my life.
I am sorry I have no photos...I didn't have a camera with me at the time:(