As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Los Angeles Zoo uses new tactic to boost California condor population

CBS NEWS November 23, 2019, 11:08 AM

The California condor breeding program at the Los Angeles Zoo helped saved the species after it was on the brink of extinction in the early 1980s. Now, the zoo has discovered a new technique to keep the population of the largest bird in North America growing.

In 1982, there were only 22 condors, which have a wingspan of 9.5 feet, in the wild, according to Steve Kirkland, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. By 1984, the breeding population was down to nine, he said.

Scientists captured all the surviving condors and the breeding program at the Los Angeles Zoo was formed, CBS Los Angeles reporter Joy Benedict reports. This year, the 1,000th condor reared his head inside a rocky hillside at Zion National Park.

"This is a California native bird. This belongs right in our backyard," said Mike Clark, the condor keeper at the zoo.

In the wild, condors might raise one chick every two years, but at the zoo, when a condor lays an egg, keepers take it, prompting the bird to lay another. Then, Clark tried something never done before. He wanted to know if a parent would foster more than one chick, so he approached a bird who knew him well.

"Here is a sexually mature bird that has been breeding for years and years and years, raised tons of chicks with another bird. She sorta kinda got attached to me because I was the only one she was interacting with," Clark said.

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