Unfortunately I have some bad news about our Big Creek pair, 168 and 208. VWS brought a foster chick to the Big Creek nest on April 27th and the chick was found dead on April 30th. The cause of death is currently unknown. Everything seemed to be going really well with the egg delivery. The chick was pushing at its shell and vocalizing. The male, 168, settled down onto the egg after the insertion. All looked good. But then both parents started flying again and showed up at the VWS release site at Anderson Peak. That shouldn’t happen when condors are caring for chicks so they knew something was wrong. Mike made a dash to the tree site to find the foster chick lying dead at the bottom of the nest tree.
The hatching process is extremely precarious for any bird and many things can go wrong in the final stages. This may have been the case here, but until we know more about the cause of death, we can only speculate to what may have happened. We can only express how sorry we are for this pair’s loss…there’s always next year. We still have one pair that will be receiving a foster chick in early May, so 2011 will still be a very reproductive year for the Big Sur flock.
You can find out more about Big Sur condor activity here: http://www.ventanaws.org/species_condors_fieldnotes/index.htm