Famous Last Birds
The population of California condors is soaring back to relatively healthy numbers. Biologists have counted 222 of the birds, a tenfold increase from 1982, when the species hit its nadir with just 22 condors remaining. “This is the greatest the population has been probably since the 1950s,” said Bruce Palmer, coordinator of the California condor recovery program. The $40 million federal program has been underway since 1985 in an attempt to save the endangered condor, North America’s largest bird. News is less bright for the spotted owl in British Columbia. Biologists are not optimistic about chances for the species’ survival in the province after a young owl re-released into the wild in southern B.C. died last week. As few as 30 breeding pairs of spotted owls remain in B.C., and their old-growth forest habitat is being steadily chopped down.