Many visitors come to Big Sur  just to see the birdies. The Big Sur coast is home to innumerable species, from the tiniest bush tits up to grand pelicans and beyond. The most famous avian residents of this area are no doubt the rare and endangered California condors. Once upon a time, condors were all but extinct, with only a few left alive in captivity and conservationists struggling to help them breed.
Today, more than 30 birds soar above the trails and beaches of Big Sur. You might even see one swooping down low over your car as you drive down Highway 1! (You’ll know it if one does this—a condor’s wingspan can exceed nine feet.) Check with the park rangers for the best times and places to see condors during your visit.
The Ventana Wilderness Society (www.ventanaws.org ) watches over many of the endangered and protected avian species in Big Sur . As part of their mission to raise awareness of the condors and many other birds, the VWS offers bird-watching expeditions; these can be simple two-hour tours or overnight wilderness camping trips, depending on your level of interest. Check their website for schedules and prices.
One of the hot spots of VWS conservation efforts and tours is Andrew Molera State Park. You can head out on your own to take a look around for some of the most interesting species in the Big Sur area. But wherever you choose to hike, be it beach or forest, you’re likely to see a variety of feathered friends fluttering about.