The California condor chick hatch last Thursday is making headlines today for a more prosaic reason: It’s a virgin birth.
Adult condors are intelligent, but in the wild they reproduce only once a year. All of California’s condors now live in captivity.
Some data indicate that captive birds are more fertile than those in the wild, but very little is known about how insemination works. “Cockroaches have more intimate interactions with the objects they share their space with than condors do with each other,” the Santa Cruz Sentinel notes.
Eight days after conception, California condors nest together on the same tree they hatched in — a single tree, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. If the bird starts producing feathers, it will then lay two eggs.
The chick will eat prey provided by its mother and survive on its own after 6 months if hatched. This will be its first time on Earth.
Once it grows up, the young may live in captivity or be released into the wild, according to The Los Angeles Times.
This is a celebration of female deferred gratification — well done, condors. Now let’s go fly a Condor!!!