April 21, 2009

Rare California condor nest found

A California condor nest near Pinnacles National Monument is the first one documented in the region in more than 70 years, park officials say.

Officials said a male condor released at the monument in 2004 apparently has paired with a 6-year-old female condor for breeding, KSBW-TV of Salinas, Calif., reported Tuesday.

California condors were facing extinction and there had been no new condor nests known to have been found in the park in nearly 70 years before the 2003 reintroduction effort, said Carl Brenner, chief of interpretation and education at Pinnacles National Monument.

The station noted the condor nest is located on a private ranch outside the Central California park. The National Park Service said it is working with the ranchers to develop a nest-monitoring strategy.

This has been a rewarding opportunity to work with our community toward common goals. Both the ranchers and the condors will benefit from the continuation of successful ranching operations, said Daniel George, condor program manager at Pinnacles National Monument.

Biologists said condor eggs take roughly 57 days to hatch, meaning the baby bird would make its first flight in October.

The California condor was placed on the federal endangered species list in 1967.