WATCH: Pair of California condors ‘liberate’ themselves from eggshells

A pair of condors born in a nearby nature preserve in Yuba County are headed out to their new home after feeding for the first time on eggshells.

The chicks are in good shape, according to the California Condor Project. They have a broad, muscular head with a triangular beak, indicating they are about six weeks old. Mature condors have beaks about the size of a baseball.

Pregnant birds pick the ideal time to lay eggs — finding the best location at the right time to find food is important for the survival of the chicks and the adult birds. Condors are natural hunters, choosing prey species whose brain size and scales are similar to condors — such as birds of prey or endangered Mexican gray wolves. Female condors usually breed several times a year.

Condors should have developed a keen sense of smell to prepare them for their first few hours of freedom. During a feeding, their nest can be more than a mile away, so they have to start the nestling on a certain leafy material that the mother takes care of. Young birds will fly for two or three weeks before their parents give them everything they need for survival.

Editor’s note: This story was updated to correct a previous reference to the birds’ appearance.


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