We are happy to find that our local condor pair, 168 and 208 have found a good burned out redwood tree at Big Creek Reserve to use as a nest, again. This pair nested at Big Creek in 2009 but abandoned the nest after their chick died from ingesting garbage (see Nature Notes – Condor Nest 2009 blogroll). They took a look over the ridge into Hot Springs Creek last year but they have returned and it looks like their new chosen tree should suit their needs. The 2009 tree was dead and ready to fall down but this year, the tree is still alive and strong, despite having a fire-carved cavity. Redwood tree cavities make good nests and Big Sur condors have figured out how to use them.
The pair’s egg is now safely being incubated at the Los Angeles Zoo. Female 208 has actually had a good track record with her eggs not being as thin-shelled as others, thus increasing their hatching success in the incubators. Still, the risk of the pair crushing the egg is too great and so biologists have initiated the standard practice of replacing the egg. There is a foster, captive-laid egg lined up for the Big Creek pair that should be ready in late April. In the mean time, the pair are happily taking care of their dummy egg and the Ventana Wildlife Society team are keeping watch.
Look for more news here as the nesting progresses. Information can also be found in the “Field Notes” section of the VWA news page.