The California condor is the largest North American land bird with a wingspan of about 10 feet. During the 20th century, poaching, habitat loss and lead poisoning reduced the vulture’s population to fewer than two dozen. The U.S. government’s response was to round up every last one of them over a period of 5 years- a total of 27 birds – for a last-ditch captive breeding program. As a result, technically the species became extinct in the wild at that point in 1987. Reintroduction into the wild did not begin until 1991.