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Volunteers Needed for California Condor Nest Monitoring

Two training sessions are planned, beginning Feb. 23

The Santa Barbara Zoo, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is looking for volunteer nest monitors for the 2011 nesting season as part of the California Condor Recovery Program.

Nest monitors, along with zoo and USFWS staff, observe active California condor nests in and near the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge Complex and condor sanctuaries in the Los Padres Mountains above Fillmore. Their observations contribute to the growing knowledge base of these highly endangered birds.

During the seasons from 2007 to 2010, 11 highly endangered California condor chicks were fledged in Southern California. This is an unprecedented accomplishment.

Volunteers interested in becoming California condor nest monitors are required to attend two training sessions: Part 1 (The Egg Stage) from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 and Part 2 (The Chick Stage), date and time to be announced.

All trainings are held at the Ventura USFWS office, 2493 Portola Road, Suite A, in Ventura.

Each training covers different topics. Current nest monitors who wish to continue into the 2011 season also must attend both trainings. Pizza and drinks will be provided.

In addition to completing training in monitoring and data collection protocols, nest monitors spend long hours in the field in inclement conditions and, depending on nest site location, may be required to hike and camp in the backcountry. They spend the majority of their time in one location, watching and noting condor behavior.

Monitors are required to use their own vehicle for travel to, from and in the field. Volunteers are sought who can commit to regular observation days (minimum two days per month) over the full breeding season of six to eight months, March to October.

The trainings cover an introduction to the project, observation protocols and the California condor ethogram (collection of quantifiable behaviors) used during observations.

RSVP for trainings is required. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

— Julia McHugh is a publicist.


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