Traveling to the birds

I previously noted items about traveling to see California condors via automobile, items that were published during the 1st half of the 20th century. Here I consider 3 articles published in travel-related magazines during the 3rd quarter of the 20th century.

01 Pacific Pathways 1946 - article
In 1946, Don Bleitz wrote about photographing California condors, including climbing to a nest cave, for Pacific Pathways magazine. The author and friends discovered an egg and, during subsequent visits, photographed the growing chick. Bleitz also describes setting out a deer carcass to attract condors so they could be photographed.

This is a tale of adventure and discovery, and a call for protecting the condor. The article includes several of the author’s photographs.

The “backstory” for Bleitz’s article can be found in Noel and Helen Snyder’s comprehensive book on the California condor.

02 Dodge News 1971 - cover
“Can this Bird Survive?” is the question on the cover of a 1971 issue of Dodge News. The article inside provides its only definitive answer to this question right at the start: “civilization is about to do him in.” After an overview of the California condor story, the author concludes that “only time will tell” whether the growing concern for endangered species will save the condor from extinction. The final paragraph has an ominous tone:

In the meantime, we wrest with foreboding thoughts. For death itself is darkness enough, but utter extinction–

The article includes this excellent photo of condor country:
03 Dodge News 1971 - article
Despite being in a magazine published by a vehicle manufacturer for its customers, the only nod to traveling in this Dodge News article is the brief mention of the author sighting a condor while visiting Lake Piru.

04 Westways 1957 - article
Westways, the magazine of the Automobile Club of Southern California, published an article titled “Sky Sovereign” by Chester Newton Hess in 1957. The author describes a number of trips to view condors. Here’s how he described his 1st sighting, after a long day of hiking and searching:

And then, quite suddenly, as California condors always appear, a beautiful big fellow sailed over our heads from behind and headed east over the canyon about a hundred feet above trail level.

A California condor! A big condor!

This article includes photos by the author, Don Bleitz (noted above), and others.

My previous travel-related post included mention of an earlier article about condors by Hess. This was in Touring Topics, a predecessor to Westways; see: Driving to the birds.


Bleitz, Don. Climbing for condors. Pacific Pathways. December 1946.

Snyder, Noel, and Helen Snyder. The California condor: a saga of natural history and conservation. Academic. 2000.

Speer, Lou. Can this bird survive? Dodge News. February 1971.

Hess, Chester Newton. Sky sovereign. Westways. March 1957.