Raptor monitoring volunteers attend a training session to learn professional monitoring practices to avoid flushing birds from their nests or disturbing them in any way. Once volunteers are trained and have received an assigned nest, they begin the monitoring visits and conduct surveys by foot using binoculars or spotting scopes. The volunteers report back to Conservancy staff on a wide range of information, including the number of chicks, rearing behavior, and the stage of development. The information that the volunteers provide helps inform Conservancy staff regarding upcoming activities in the areas surrounding the nests. Often times activities will be altered, or even cancelled, in order to make sure participants don’t disturb a nest site.
“Managing nesting hawks and owls is a perfect example of how IRC uses science to carefully balance public access and resource protection. Volunteers play a crucial role by helping identify and monitor nests. When we find an active nest too close to a trail, we may close the trail temporarily or post signs to minimize disturbance to the hawks and their babies. This helps make sure that these majestic birds will be around for everyone to enjoy for generations to come,” said Michael O’Connell, Irvine Ranch Conservancy Executive Director.
If you are interested in learning how you can become an IRC certified volunteer so you can participate in next year’s raptor monitoring program, go to letsgooutside.org/volunteer/irc-volunteers/ and fill out an interest form today!