PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Zoo had an eggsemplary hatching season with eight new California condor hatchlings now healthy and growing, officials announced.

Located at the Jonsson Center for Wildlife Conservation in Clackamas County, 11 breeding pairs live in a 52-acre facility helping to repopulate the once nearly extinct species.

California condors lay their eggs between January and March, usually hatching by June, the zoo said.

Kelli Walker, the Oregon Zoo’s senior condor keeper, shared that the recently hatched chicks are growing fast and getting ready to take flight.

“With so few California condors left in the world, each bird is vitally important,” said Walker. “These chicks are already stretching their wings and preparing to be free-flying wild condors.”

According to the zoo, the chicks are kept with their parents for at least eight months before they travel to a wild release site in California and Arizona.

In 1982 there were only 22 California condors left in the wild and starting in 1987, the zoo said that all remaining birds were brought into human care.

Since that time, recovery programs have helped raise the California condor population to around 500 birds, most of which are in the wild and free-flying.