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  • ECOSNEWS 2013 UPDATE/California's PINNACLES National Monument became the 59th NATIONAL PARK on January 11, 2013. Read about the new HAIN WILDERNESS NATIONAL PARK!

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    BIG SUR CONDOR NEWS-April 2010 Update
    First Condor Chick Hatches at Pinnacles National Monument in 100 Years. Biologists celebrated the milestone on Wednesday, April 7, 2010.
    The condor hatched on March 24th inside the park and it will be raised by a female and a male released in 2004 who were monitored by biologists during the birds' 57-day-egg-sitting. Condors generally mate for life. The hatching of the chick, whose sex hasn't yet been determined, is a milestone in the latest development in the California condor's return to the wild and its slow but steady recovery from near extinction.
    So far, the new parents are adapting to life with child. They take turns nestling their offspring to keep it warm, just as they did the egg. While one waits, the other forages for food. The young condor will live with its parents for a year and if it survives, its wings will grow from the current thumb size to a span of at least 9 1/2 feet. The adults will wait two years before producing another egg.

    BIG SUR CONDOR NEWS-March 2010 Update

    Biologists at Pinnacles National Monument have verified the first California condor nest in the monument in over 100 years. Condor 317, a female released at the monument as a 1 ˝ year old bird in 2004, has paired with a nearly seven year old male, Condor 318, originally released along the Big Sur coast by Ventana Wildlife Society.
    This is the first breeding attempt by either condor. The adult condors were tracked using radio telemetry and global positioning technology to the nest site. They were also observed performing courtship behaviors for nearly a month before an egg was confirmed.

    “We are thrilled that after being involved with the Condor Recovery Program since 2003, the park has its first nest in over 100 years,” said Eric Brunnemann, Park Superintendent. “…and conveniently Condors 317 and 318 chose a nest cave that can be easily viewed by the public from the Scout Peak bench on the High Peaks Trail,” continued Brunnemann. Although the areas directly around the nest cliff will be closed to public use for the duration of the nesting period, public viewing is still possible. The strenuous hike to the viewing area is approximately two miles from the closest East or West Side parking areas. From the west, the elevation gain is approximately 1100 feet, and from the east it is over 1200 feet. Please ask in the Visitor Center for more complete directions to the viewing area.

    A temporary closure area around the nest cliff is in effect during the 2010 breeding season. An area extending from Western Front to Goat Rock and north to the edge of the Juniper Canyon Trail will be closed to protect the nesting birds. The Juniper Canyon and High Peaks trails remain open. Park visitors interested in off trail activities within the Monument should consult with a park ranger for specific guidance. Violation of this emergency closure is punishable by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not exceeding six months, or both (36 CFR §1.5(f) or 16 U.S.C §§1531-1543).
    Biologists will be closely monitoring the nest to determine if the new parents succeed in incubating the egg and rearing a young bird to fledge from the high rocky cliff. Condor eggs take an average of 57 days to hatch. Nestlings remain flightless for an additional 5˝ to 6 months. Park Service biologists expect that if the new parents successfully rear a young condor, it would take its first flight in early October.

    Recommended related LINKS:

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