(…cont)Earlier in 2009 she was brought to Phoenix and remained in rehabilitation for a long enough period of time that her mate had obviously given her up for gone. He had begun to court another young condor. The cycle goes on. What he didn’t know was that she was on her way home.
We were told that after a short period of observation, she was released back into the canyon. Reports say that she immediately flew 3000 feet in the air and beelined to the South Rim, where she located her mate of all those years and summarily dismissed the young interloper. Condors seem to recognize and honor age, power, and experience and do what any self-respecting beta animal would do…beat feet or flap wings and let the queen rule.
The couple immediately took up where they left off prior to her bout with lead. They were too late to start the family-building activity necessary to lay eggs last year, but didn’t waste any time this year. We have been told that all signs and behavior point to an egg in the nest. The nest cavity is within sight of Mather Point in the Grand Canyon, and while the actual egg hasn’t been seen, the behavior of the parents indicates that the inaccessible nest – the scrape – contains an egg. They are tenacious if nothing else!
It is amazing to think what might happen to the species without the threat of lead. It seems it would take so little to make life a little easier for them. Our fingers are crossed that their behavior bespeaks an egg and the egg successfully hatches, fledges, and survives the difficulties of early years and the unnecessary threat of lead poisoning.