This season’s steady procession of rainstorms will help the mountains and backcountry regrow wildlife habitat erased by the Thomas Fire. That’ll take time. And with the region still in the clamp of historic drought, many bird species, including barn owls and other raptors, continue to visit and take up residency near urban centers. On the winged hunt for food and water, these top-level predators have to contend with moving vehicles, invisible panes of glass, and pellet guns. Following songbirds in search of water, Cooper’s hawks, for example, “will eat any bird at your backyard feeder,” said Kim Stroud, director of the Ojai Raptor Center, which is hosting an hour-long new-volunteer orientation day on February 17.
The center is recruiting for several volunteer slots, Stroud said, including animal care, data entry, IT, facility maintenance, and positions for good drivers able to transport animals. The outreach is in anticipation of the upcoming nesting season, when the nonprofit receives the majority of its yearly intakes. It is seeking volunteers who can commit at least once a week during the busiest months in wildlife rehabilitation, she added. Founded in 2000, the Ojai Raptor Center “is a fully functional and permitted wildlife rehabilitation center, specializing in birds of prey. Every year we take in 500 to 1000 sick, injured, or orphaned birds, including many non-raptors, and a small percentage of mammals, with the hopes of rehabilitating them and releasing them back to the wild.” — Keith Hamm
Ojai Raptor Center new-volunteer orientation is 1-2 p.m. February 17, at 370 Baldwin Road, Ojai. Call (805) 798-3600 or visit ojairaptorcenter.org.