First condor chick of 2010 hatches at Oregon Zoo
“Our first hatching went beautifully,” said keeper Kelli Walker. “The chick looks healthy. It’s growing well and starting to shuffle about the nest room. With any luck, another bird will hatch this week –– and we have hopes for two more after that.”After 30 to 45 days, keepers will give the chick a medical checkup, including inoculations against West Nile virus.
“We try to handle the condors as little as possible,” Walker said. “Not only is human contact upsetting to the parents, we’re preparing these animals for a life in the wild. Even if bred in captivity, we ensure that chicks are raised by condors, learning condor instincts and behavior.”
Last year, the Oregon Zoo’s Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation sent three condors to the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, Idaho, for release into the wild. The largest land birds in North America, California Condors might have wingspans of up to 10 feet and an average weight of 18 to 25 pounds. Highly intelligent and inquisitive, they require a lot of parental investment in the wild.