2022 Condor Breeding Begins

The 2022 condor breeding season has begun! We will soon be switching our Condor Cam over to the nest box view for a rare and exciting peek into a California condor nest. We also have some more very exciting news to share this year! We have a new pair of condor parents to introduce to you, and for our loyal condor fans, one of them is a very familiar face. Our female this year is Antiki (pronounced “an-TEE-key”), and she hatched—live on Condor Cam!—to veteran Condor Cam parents, Sisquoc and Shatash in March, 2015.

Antiki was raised to be reintroduced to native habitat along with the rest of our 2015 chicks, but was determined to be a genetically valuable asset to the recovery program’s breeding flock. Once it was determined that she was going to remain with us, she moved out to the Safari Park’s Condor Ridge habitat, where she lived for two years, until she was old enough to be paired with a male.

Antiki was introduced to male Susil (pronounced “SOO-sil”) in November 2019, and they hit it off right away. Susil is a very patient and experienced parent, and last year we were thrilled when Antiki laid her very first egg, and it was fertile. She and Susil successfully raised their chick together in 2021. It’s so exciting for the wildlife care specialists to see Antiki all grown up and becoming such an excellent parent! 

Antiki laid this year’s egg in the early morning hours of January 28, 2022. A few days later, wildlife care specialists quietly entered the nest box while both birds were out in their habitat eating and expertly exchanged the real egg for a replica. As the parents incubate the replica, we are artificially incubating the real egg. This is a common practice with many bird species—especially a critically endangered species such as the California condor—to ensure the safety of the egg as it develops. The egg has been confirmed to be fertile and is developing right on schedule!

Both male and female condors share the responsibility of incubating the egg and eventually caring for the chick, so you’ll see both Susil and Antiki taking turns sitting on their egg, only leaving it unattended for brief periods of time to eat. Over the next month or so, you’ll be able to watch our devoted parents carefully incubating the replica egg. You can easily identify Susil by his blue wing tags. (Antiki has none.) We expect to replace the replica egg with their real egg sometime in late March, just in time for the chick to hatch. Stay tuned for another exciting year on Condor Cam!