California condors secretly mate, producing unexpected baby

AP News
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Posted: Jan 09, 2015 1:21 PM

BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) — Two California condors have secretly mated in the woods of Northern California, thrilling wildlife biologists by producing unexpected offspring.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports (http://bit.ly/1tSV56s ) that the breeding was only the third unobserved pairing of condors in the wild since 1997, when biologists began releasing the endangered birds in Big Sur.

The last 27 California condors left in the wild were captured and placed in a breeding program in 1987. The Big Sur flock came from that program.

The bird is already 9 months old. The parents raised the hatchling for many months before being detected by prying biologists.

Ventana Wildlife Society Senior Wildlife Biologist and Big Sur Condor Project Coordinator Joe Burnett said the surprise bird is a sign the flock is doing well.

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Information from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com