Milestone: California condors reach key survival measure

A captive breeding program that at one time included every living California condor has passed a key milestone in helping North America’s largest bird return to the wild.

For the first time in decades, more condors hatched and fledged in the wild last year than adult wild condors died, said officials with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service…

Fourteen young condors took flight compared with 12 that died. Officials say it’s a small difference but a big step since the last 22 wild condors were captured in the 1980s to start the breeding program that releases offspring into the wild.

“That’s an indication that the program is succeeding,” said Eric Davis, the Wildlife Service’s coordinator for the California condor program. “We hope that wild birds start producing wild chicks, and that is what is happening more and more…”

The captive breeding program continues with the Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey near Boise being the top egg producer, with six eggs laid this spring and nine more expected…

Davis said about 20 to 40 condors, typically less than 2 years old, are released into the wild each year. They can live for about 60 years.

Majestic birds. I’ve seen one in the wild. Once.

Thanks, Ursarodinia

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