Experts surprised, delighted by baby California condor

The surprise appearance of a baby California condor thrilled wildlife biologists tasked with monitoring the critically endangered species.

Ventana Wildlife Society
In this image provided by the Ventana Wildlife Society, a "mystery" condor is seen on the live streaming webcam belonging to VWS Condor Sanctuary.

A pair of California condors have produced a baby, surprising wildlife experts who said on Friday the endangered raptors had managed to secretly mate outside their careful monitoring.

Late last month, biologists noticed a "mystery" juvenile condor at a wildlife sanctuary in Big Sur, California, according to the Ventana Wildlife Society, a group that helps protect and observe the birds in their natural habitat.

The young bird was seen with two adult condors presumed to be its parents - and the bundle of joy, about 9-months-old, had been hatched and raised without the knowledge of biologists monitoring the region, the group said.

"This pair of condors is suspected of nesting in a remote portion of the Ventana Wilderness in the Arroyo Seco drainage," the group said in a statement. "Biologists have never entered the nest because of the area's inaccessibility."

This was only the third unobserved pairing of condors in the wild since 1997, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The parents were identified as "Shadow" and "Wild 1," the group said. Shadow, the suspected father, has been active in the population, having produced two other chicks, the group said.

"This is truly exciting to witness as it offers another example of condors surviving on their own," said Kelly Sorenson, executive director of the Ventana Wildlife Society.

Condors, the largest flying birds in North America, once populated an area from Canada to Mexico but nearly became extinct in the 1980s due to factors such as poaching, lead poisoning and habitat destruction.

The total condor population now stands at 425 birds, both captive and wild, of which 116 are living in the wilderness of California, the Ventana Wildlife Society said.

One of the longest-living raptors in the world, condor populations are also found in Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Andrew Hay).

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.