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New mama: First Utah condor chick at Zion National Park

Published August 1, 2014 10:19 am

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This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The birth announcement is official — biologists from federal and state agencies, as well as a nonprofit group, have finally confirmed that a pair of California condors nesting in Zion National Park have produced a chick.

"This is the first documented occurrence of California condors raising a chick in Utah," Eddie Feltes, condor project manager with The Peregrine Fund, said in a release. "This is great news. This pair of condors — and their newly-hatched chick — could be a major step toward California condors re-establishing themselves in southern Utah."

The confirmation occurred on June 25 when a chick appeared on the edge of the nest located in a rock cavity 1,000 feet high in a remote canyon.

The biologists had suspected the arrival because the pair of condors in the nesting area were displaying behaviors indicating they may have laid an egg.

The nest was found by The Peregrine Fund biologists following radio and GPS signals from transmitters mounted on each of the adult condors.

Birders and wildlife enthusiasts are excited for the opportunity to see the condor chick, but it will likely be some time before it will be seen in public.

"Our top priorities are to allow the chick to grow and develop in a natural environment without significant human influence, keep it safe, and to protect park resources in the area where the chick is located," Fred Armstrong, chief of resource management and research with Zion National Park, said in the release.

Keith Day, regional wildlife biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, doesn't expect the chick to learn how to fly until November or December.

"California condors take about six months to fledge," Day said in the release. "Their fledging period is the longest of any bird in North America."

brettp@sltrib.com

Twitter:@BrettPrettyman