Condor Cam Chick Update

They grow up so fast!

If you’ve been watching our California Condor Cam over the last few months, you’ve watched our condor chick grow from a tiny ball of fluff to a bouncy big bird!

We have lots to catch up on! To start with: it’s a boy! His name is Tiyep (pronounced Tee-yep) which means “to teach” in Chumash. He hatched at 7:24 p.m. on May 6, 2020 with the assistance of his mom, Sola.

For the first few weeks, viewing the tiny chick was difficult for Condor Cam watchers, as both parents were very attentive, sharing the responsibility of keeping the chick warm and protected under their feathers. However, as Tiyep grew and the weather warmed up, many have noticed the little guy spending the majority of the day alone.  Not to worry,—this is totally normal and the parents are never far away. They’re usually just out of camera view, keeping watch from the outside portion of the nest box. At this age, it’s not unusual to only see the parents entering the nest box to feed the chick a once a day, then quickly leave. But they never go too far.

Tiyep has undergone two “checkups” with our wildlife care specialists and veterinarians. This is a relatively brief process involving a quick physical exam, a vaccination for West Nile Virus and a blood draw. The blood samples taken at this time are sent to our lab where it is determined whether the chick is a boy and a girl.

At 120 days old, this little bundle of energy is beginning to hop up on to the nest box barrier to peer out into the large flight pen. He occasionally walks out onto the roost ledge to take in the sights with his parents. We anticipate him beginning to spend more time out of view of the camera in the next month or so but don’t worry, he hasn’t gone far. He will continue to spend the nights in his nest box and most afternoons he can be seen sleeping the hottest part of the day away.

Once he is ready, he will be moved to our pre-release habitat (with all of the other condor kiddos hatched this year) to continue to prepare to be released back to the wild! We will keep you posted when that day comes! He will still be visible, and you’ll be able to watch him interacting with others and learning the finer points of being a California condor. We hope everyone has enjoyed watching him grow as much as we have and continue to monitor his progress with us on Condor Cam, and join us in honoring vultures of all kinds on International Vulture Awareness Day, Saturday September 5, 2020. Visit our special page of things to watch, discover, and do.

Erin Massey is a senior wildlife care specialist at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Read her previous blog, Exciting New Addition!