National Aviary

Mother Nature's Got Her Own Plan! Rare Condor Couple Lays An Egg

Here's one family that has no idea about the panedmic that has the rest of us in a tizzy. Let's root for this baby to survive and thrive to keep its species alive.

Lianni turned 36 years old on Thursday. She hopes to be having a baby soon.

This might not seem like a remarkable story, except Lianni is a condor and she and the baby's father Lurch are endangered, so one egg, one baby bird, is a big deal.

Lianni and Lurch live at the National Aviary, in Pittsburgh, PA. While the coronavirus has closed down the Aviary to visitors and impacted Aviary workers, the birds have no idea what's going on outside their habitat. They're just doing what wild animals do, and, hopefully, keeping their species alive by incubating an egg, just like they did last year when we stopped by.

Lianni will spend 54-58 days sharing nest-sitting duties with mate Lurch.National Aviary

Last year's egg hatched, but sadly, the chick didn't survive. The Aviary staff was disappointed, but they remained focused on helping the condor couple breed. After all, this isn't the birds' first challenge.

Condor mom Lianni "is truly a special bird," said Dr. Pilar Fish, the Aviary's Senior Director, Zoological Advancements and Avian Medicine. Lianni almost died eight years ago. She needed a blood transfusion, a procedure that had never before been done on a condor. A team mobilized to safely collect small samples of blood from 15 birds of prey at the Aviary, and a first-of-its-kind blood bank was established. Members of the team held Lianni during the transfusion because it wasn't safe to give her anesthesia.

Lurch stretches his legs in the condor habitat. He'll share time with Lianni sitting on the egg.National Aviary

Lianni and Lurch's egg is expected to hatch in late May to early June. The folks at the Aviary are hoping that this year the chick will hatch and survive. We at Sparkt do too!

How cool! A light allows avian doctors to see that the condor egg is fertilized.National Aviary

How can you start something good?

You can support Lianni, Lurch and all of the awesome birds at the National Aviary by making a donation to the Aviary's Emergency Care Efforts sponsored by UPMC Health Plan. UPMC will match your gift up to $25,000.

If you live in the Pittsburgh region, you've gotta visit the Aviary. You'll be amazed by the types of birds you'll see, and you'll be surprised at the ways you can interact with them. If you're not from Pittsburgh, come visit, and definitely put the Aviary on your list!

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