PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Majestic Condors soar above the Andes mountains of Peru – with wing spans up to 10 feet, they are the largest flying birds in the world.

But Andean condors, like their California cousins, are in danger of extinction.

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Their numbers are dwindling in the wild and there are only 71 in captivity here in North America. And the National Aviary on the North Shore has two of them.

“There birds arrived here Dave in the beginning of October,” National Aviary spokesman Kurt Hundgen told KDKA’s Dave Crawley.

Hundgen says the 43-year-old male from San Antonio and the 36-year-old femaile from Dallas are here for a purpose – to produce more condors.

“We have two birds here Dave, that look great, but we still have to introduce them,” Hudgen said.

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The aviary has a record of success, breeding three condor chicks in the past 10 years.
They have high hopes for this pair, both caught in the wild years ago.

“It’s highly unlikely that, in the future, Andean condors are going to be brought in from the wild,” Hudgen said. “So we have a self-sustaining population.”

Condors aren’t the only newcomers at the National Aviary.

Bright yellow canaries recall a time when they warned miners of dangerous air underground. And, in the spirit of condors, newly introduced fruit bats belong to the largest bat family.

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As for the big birds, they’re playing a game of getting to know you — seems to be working.


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