Cover art from government documents

Reports and brochures produced by government agencies sometimes feature wonderful illustrations on their covers. Below are 6 examples concerning the California condor from the 2nd half of the 20th century.

The first cover shows a condor sailing over Sisquoc Falls, located in one of the 2 sanctuaries designated for California condors:
01 Mallette 1970

In this Forest Service report, a condor flies over a map showing 4 national forests that offer condor habitat:
02 Carrier 1971

This report cover has fine style:
03 Verner 1978

Artist Loren Porzer-Kepner included a standing dead tree, an important element of condor habitat, in this illustration:
04 Anon 1985

By the time the report below was published, all free-living condors carried numbered wing tags. But not in this cover image:
05 Kiff et al 1996

A report by another agency features the same image as above, but with habitat added:
06 Johnson & Garrison 1996

Given that these illustrations are from government documents about the California condor, it’s not surprising that all the artists demonstrate a real sense of the bird. None of the illustrations show the condor as a fierce, eagle-like bird, as is too-often the case.

All of these documents were created for a limited, technical audience. So it is notable that the investment was made to provide images on the document covers. I hope and expect that the documents’ users appreciated the illustrations.

The various library markings on some of these and the poor copies in a few cases may seem a distraction from the illustrations. But I see these imperfections as evidence that the documents have been used, put to work by people wanting to better understand and protect the California condor.

Who created these illustrations? Only 1 of the 6 documents includes an artist credit for the cover. If you are one of the artists or can identify any of them, please let me know.


Mallette, Robert D. Operational management plan for California condor. California Department of Fish and Game. May 1970.

Carrier, W Dean. Habitat management plan for the California condor. Forest Service. 1971.

Verner, Jared. California condors: status of the recovery effort. Forest Service. General Technical Report PSW-28. 1978.

Blue Ridge habitat management plan. Bureau of Land Management. November 1985.

Kiff, Lloyd F, Robert I Mesta, and Michael P Wallace. Recovery plan for the California condor. Fish and Wildlife Service. April 1996.

Johnson, Terry B, and Barbara A Garrison. California condor reintroduction proposal for the Vermilion Cliffs, northern Arizona. Arizona Game and Fish Department. Technical Report 86. October 1996.