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Condor 161

Hatched April 10, 1997 at the San Diego Zoo

Condor #161 sets the bar when it comes to nesting, with only a few wild breeding condors able to match her prolific nesting efforts. As one of the earliest nesting pairs in the reintroduced condor population, #161 started her nesting journey with longtime mate condor #107 in 2004, a mere three years after the very first nest.  

Regularly nesting for decades, she has attempted 13 nests and her experience allowed her to fledge nine chicks (as of 2023).

Unfortunately, she lost her mate in 2017. Her nesting instincts were so strong that it was not long before she had a new mate – but the mate definitely was a bit of a surprise! Apparently, her connection to #107 was so strong that she paired with one of their biological offspring, #509, and the two have been together ever since.

While this may come as a shock, especially given some species’ propensity for making rules against incest, this is not an uncommon behavior in animals. When it comes to deleterious effects from incest-- think hemophilic monarchies-- it usually takes more than one generation to come about, so this pairing isn’t concerning to condor biologists. What it does go to show is that #161 is truly the Hopper Mountain Matriarch!

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