One family of twin California condors has achieved something with little success in recent decades. In 2014 the nest was excavated, and last December the eggs were laid and laid. All went well until Thursday when the first chick hatched.
It is believed that the male fledger fledged in April 2017 and not long afterwards another chick was born. Although this resulted in confusion that one and more had hatched, the chicks soon passed through the first stage of their development which scientists have been monitoring.
Since 2006 only four chicks have been born to this family of six who hatched at the Condor Lagoon – three females and two males.
“It’s no surprise that these same parents gave birth to two chicks,” said bird biologist Barbara Parker, and a spokeswoman for the California condor recovery programme.
“They’ve given birth to more offspring than that just recently on a case-by-case basis.”
California condors developed into endangered creatures through hunting in the early 1900s. They were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1967, when there were only 53 of the birds left in the wild. Now there are more than 650 and the recovery programme is the largest raptor reintroduction project in the world.
A California condor in 1979. Photograph: Panorama/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image
Threats to the population include starvation from vegetation loss or collisions with large objects such as buildings.
They also face predation from many non-native species, such as wolves, hawks and peregrine falcons, which have been reintroduced into the US since the 1960s.
But with more challenges in front of the California condor, its reforestation efforts have yet to bear fruit.
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Two years ago the Federal Aviation Administration required that the condors’ nest be be moved 200m back up a cliff top to the Sacramento River and allow the birds to leave the nest’s immediate area.
In addition to these daily activities, the Condor Lagoon has monitored the nest and offspring for fluency of their calls, which act as a sort of auxiliary weather station as they can be heard over the rustling in nearby grasslands.