Oregon Zoo welcomes 8 healthy condor chicks during hatching season

Eight new California condor chicks are growing fast at the zoo’s conservation center.
Eight new California condor chicks are growing fast at the zoo’s conservation center.(Photo by Liz Musich, courtesy of the Oregon Zoo.)
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 11:16 AM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Eight healthy California condor chicks were welcomed at the Oregon Zoo’s Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conversation during hatching season.

The zoo says the successful hatching season wrapped up last week and the eight chicks will help restore the critically endangered species.

“With so few California condors left in the world, each bird is vitally important,” said Kelli Walker, the zoo’s senior condor keeper. “These chicks are already stretching their wings and preparing to be free-flying wild condors.”

The chicks will stay with their parents for at least eight months, the zoo says, before moving to pre-release pens for about a year. They will eventually join free-flying condors in California and Arizona.

This season, the zoo participated in a groundbreaking condor research project which included a high-tech “dummy” egg. The dummy egg, which contained equipment inside it, could measure turn rate, temperature and how often a real condor egg moved. The zoo says it also recorded audio of condor parents’ breathing and heartbeats while they take turns sitting on the nest.

“We’ve never been able to get this type of information from inside of a California condor nest before,” Walker said. “Knowing the precise conditions for rearing healthy chicks could be very useful to condor recovery efforts.”

The zoo says more than 108 chicks have hatched at the Jonsson Center since 2003, and more than 73 Oregon Zoo-reared birds have gone out to field pens for release. Several eggs laid by Oregon Zoo condors have been placed in wild nests to hatch.