With plumed wingspans stretching ten feet across, California condors used to soar freely on spiraling wind currents until their populations plummeted to near extinction in the 1980s. Recovery efforts to establish self-sustaining wild populations of condors began in the 1970s and continue today. This month, the Santa Barbara Zoo and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold two training sessions for volunteers interested in participating in the California Condor Recovery Program as nest monitors.

According to the U.S. National Park Service, close tracking of the wild birds helps their survival rate. From March to October, nest monitors get to explore the backcountry of the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex and the Los Padres Mountains, gathering information on condors’ behavior and protecting their nesting sites.

Both new and existing volunteers are required to attend both training sessions at the Ventura USFWS Office. The first meeting will take place Wednesday, February 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will address observation protocol for the condors’ “egg stage.” The date of the second meeting, which will cover the “chick stage,” will be announced on Wednesday.


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