BIG SUR, Calif. - Two wild-born California condors are nesting (and have a youngster learning to fly) for the first time since 1985, and it's happening on the Central Coast.
According to the Ventana Wildlife Society, "Miracle" is the first completely wild chick in Big Sur in over a century, making her appearance a truly miraculous event in the history of the condor recovery program. Her baby just left the nest about a week ago and is already flying.
Her parents, Condor #209 and Condor #236 laid, hatched, reared, and fledged her without management intervention. Because of this, Miracle represents a positive step towards a more "hands off" approach. At this point, however, the low numbers of condors living in the wild means if something goes wrong, it could potentially have a devastating impact on the entire flock. That is why officials check if wild-laid eggs are fertile and, if they are not, replace them with foster eggs laid by condors in captivity.
"Miracle" can frequently be seen flying with her parents and officials are hoping she picks up on the excellent parenting skills that #209 and #236 used to raise her into a successful condor. "Miracle" has also begun to explore a wider range of the central coast, including making trips to Pinnacles National Park.