Topic: Trial by ﬁre: California Condor recovery amid a turbulent year on the central coast
Speaker: Mike Stake
The year 2020 started well for condors in central California. The regional population topped 100 for the ﬁrst time,!and a season record of eight breeding pairs tended chicks in active nests. But, fortunes would turn when the Dolan ﬁre ignited in late August 2020, destroying management facilities at the condor sanctuary. Five active nests were also in the path of the wildﬁre, and nine free-ﬂying condors went missing. Now, ten months have past, Mike Stake, a biologist with Ventana Wildlife Society, will describe the losses of 2020, share an update on rebuilding efforts, and recount stories of survival and human kindness that bring renewed hope for the full recovery of the population.
Mike Stake is a wildlife biologist at Ventana Wildlife Society in Monterey. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Mike became interested in birds when his 6th-grade teachertook the class to a local sewage pond to identify ducks, herons, and kingﬁshers. Mike left California in 1988 to attend the University of Nebraska. After graduation, he worked with The Nature Conservancy in Texas (Black-capped Vireos and Golden-cheeked Warblers) and Hawks Aloft in New Mexico (Gray Vireos and Mountain Plovers), before getting his Master’s Degree at the University of Missouri. Along the way, he assisted with research in the Bahamas, Australia, Peru, and Ecuador, and taught English classes in Russia. Mike has been back home in California since 2009 assisting with California Condor recovery on the central coast.
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