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Ventura County

Condors Get a Visit From Stork

Wildlife: Biologists believe a third chick has hatched in Los Padres forest, which bodes well for bird recovery efforts.

June 01, 2002|From a Times Staff Writer

A third condor chick is believed to have hatched this week in Ventura County's back country, further demonstrating to biologists that their recovery efforts for the endangered birds are working.

The egg had been monitored by biologists with the California Condor Recovery Plan for the last eight weeks and was hatched Tuesday near the Sespe Condor Sanctuary of the Los Padres National Forest, north of Fillmore.

The nest where the chick is being reared is inside a deep cave and is covered by bushes, so biologists have not yet seen the tiny condor. But the parents' behavior indicates the chick is doing fine, said Greg Austin, a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist.

The chick's parents, which are both 8 years old, were reared in captivity at the Los Angeles Zoo and were released into the wild in 1995.

The birth of a third condor chick encourages biologists, because it indicates that even condors raised in captivity know how to breed in the wild, Austin said. The chick is expected to be the last one hatched locally this year.

"They didn't have any parents themselves, but they know what to do," said Austin. "Their instinct and genetics are so hard-wired that they've done everything right," from courting to laying eggs.

Biologists with the recovery effort want to establish two separate populations of condors--one in California and one in Arizona, each with 150 birds and at least 15 breeding pairs.

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