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Biologists Catch First Glimpse of Condor Chick in Utah

July 16
17:14 2014


Good news from the Zion National Park news desk, as biologists report they have had their first glimpse of a new baby condor chick born in the park. Officials say, “it’s official” and a pair of California condors are raising a chick in Utah!

For weeks, biologists from several agencies and groups have focused their attention on a rock cavity at Zion National Park. The cavity is 1,000 feet above a remote canyon floor. Inside the cavity, the biologists were hoping a pair of California condors had hatched an egg. Their hopes were realized on June 25 when a condor chick made its first appearance on the edge of the nest. This chick is the offspring of first-time nesting parents. The occasion is particularly momentous because the results of first-time nesters often fail.

This is the first documented occurrence of California condors raising a chick in Utah. This is great news. This pair of condors—and their newly-hatched chick—could be a major step toward California condors reestablishing themselves in southern Utah.” – Eddie Feltes/Condor Project Manager with The Peregrine Fund.

Keith Day, regional wildlife biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, says the chick won’t try to fly until November or December and their fledgling period is the longest of any bird in North America. Day says the parents will spend the next year raising the chick.

How biologists found the nest

The Peregrine Fund biologists found the nest by following radio and Global Positioning System signals from transmitters mounted on each of the chick’s parents. They started keeping a close eye on the birds after the pair exhibited nesting behavior this past spring.

Biologists and the condor recovery program partner agencies got really excited when the birds started displaying behavior that indicated they were incubating an egg. The excitement grew even more when the pair showed signs they were tending a chick. On June 25, the chick made its first appearance on the edge of the nest.

Working cooperatively with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service, and the National Park Service, The Peregrine Fund has taken the lead on reintroducing and restoring this federally endangered species in northern Arizona and southern Utah.

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