Side-by-side comparison of condors 1215 and 1238 during their checkups. (Rose Fielding/NPS)

SALINAS VALLEY — Pinnacles National Park crew members are keeping a close watch on two baby condors that were found at the mountainous area east of Salinas Valley.

Each nest is home to a solo youngster being raised by its parents, as condors only lay one egg at a time.

“Both nestlings recently had their first health checkups, and we’re happy to report that everything looks great,” stated the Park in a social media announcement on July 27.

A Pinnacles National Park crew member holds condor 1215 in the nest. (Gavin Emmons/NPS)

During their checkups, the first nestling — identified as condor 1215 — was 44 days old, and the second nestling — condor 1238 — was 68 days old. Condors typically aren’t fully grown until about six months after they hatch.

“So these little ones still have lots of maturing to do before they are ready to take flight,” the Park said.

Members of the Park’s condor crew had to use ropes to access the cliff nests during both checkups. They safely secured the nestlings and placed modified baby socks over their eyes to help keep them calm and minimize stress.

A crew member climbs a rock wall to access the nest. (Rose Fielding/NPS)

The little “fluffballs” were then examined by the crew and a veterinarian to assess their health. Blood samples were taken to determine their sex — the results of which are still pending — and to test for lead exposure.

“If the parents feed their offspring meat that was contaminated with fragments of lead bullets, the nestlings could become fatally lead poisoned,” the Park explained. “Thankfully, the blood lead levels for both nestlings were very low.”

After getting a clean bill of health, both nestlings were placed back in their respective nests under their parents’ watchful eyes. Condors 1215 and 1238 are expected to take their first flights in early November.

“If all goes well, you may be lucky enough to see the two newest members of the condor flock soaring through the park this winter,” the Park said.

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.



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