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Get the Lead Out
KOLD News 13, April 28, 2011

Lucky 13th wild California condor chick hatches in Northern Arizona
By Leasa Conze

TUCSON, AZ - A 13th wild California condor chick has hatched at a a new nesting site near the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, northeast of the Grand Canyon.

Biologists began monitoring the site several months ago when they saw the parents courting and then nesting.

The biologists spotted the Jeff February 24 and found the hatchling April 22.  It's now about a week old.

"Each wild hatchling gives us confidence that condors are well on their way to recovery, " says Chris Parish, condor project director for The Peregrine Fund in Arizona.

This is the 13th chick hatched in the wild since condors were first released in Arizona in 1996.  Nine remain a part of the wild population. 

The new chick is expected to take its first flight and join the rest of the wild flock in about 6 months.  It will remain dependent on its parents for about 18 months.

The chick appears to have three parents, one female and two males that shared the incubation duties and are now feeding it.

Biologists say having three adults in courtship behavior is not particularly unusual but they say this is the first time a trio has produced a chick in the history of the recovery program.

With this new chick, there are now 375 California condors in the world. 194 of them are in the wild, 74 of which are in the Arizona-Utah population.

"The greatest obstacle to a self-sustaining population of California condors continues to be lead poisoning, the leading cause of death," Parish says.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton