Word play

Some have been inspired to play with the name “condor”. Here, in no particular order, are several examples.

Deborah Knight’s article on the status of California condors in Arizona featured Amy Nicholas, a member of the Peregrine Fund’s condor field crew. As a result of her work, Nicholas has developed “condormania”, a condition in which …

… people become obsessed with the birds and spend years working to save them.

But condormania is nothing new. Decades earlier, Chester Newten Hess offered this comment about the legal protection afforded the condor:

We condormaniacs go so far as to wish that it were a felony, instead of only a misdemeaner [sic], to harm the California condor.

In an article about the discovery of a California condor nest in an atypical location, a giant sequoia tree, Ed Ainsworth wrote:

This particular condor family, however, being extremely individualistic, chose not only to violate the ancient law of condordom but to do it in as spectacular a way as possible.

An editorial in USA Today noted that California condors enjoy substantial support as an endangered species, in contrast to the endangered Delhi Sands fly. The piece was titled “Pros and Condors” and concluded with this:

All of which is a handy illustration of a new Law of Nature. For endangered species in the modern world, survival of the fittest increasingly depends on image. Is that fair? Well, it’s inevitable. Those flies had better get a damn good agent.

The Ventura County News published an article titled “Frank Arundell, County Naturalist, Admits with Candor He Knows Condor.” I have yet to obtain a copy of this article but am looking forward to reading it some day.

Kenneth Brower paraphrases Carl Koford’s critique of a proposal to to capture free-living condors, breed them in zoos, and then release them to the wild:

There is no guarantee that they will breed in captivity or that zoo-propagated birds will be knowledgeable enough about the subtleties of condorhood to survive in the wild.

What do you call housing for condors? Don Sterner answered “condorminium” with the titles of his 2 articles about the status of the condor recovery project at the San Diego Zoo.

A podcast from Science … sort of, featuring condor scientist Zeka Kuspa, was titled “Condor or Condon’t”.

Finally, I’ll expand the scope of this post to note the title of an article by vulture expert David Houston: “To the vultures belong the spoils” (a nice play on William Marcy’s “to the victor belong the spoils”).

Knight, Deborah. Flight of the condor, revisited. Animals [Massachusetts SPCA]. March-April 1998.

Hess, Chester Newten. Southern California Is the home of the largest flying bird in the world. Los Angeles Times. 28 August 1932.

Ainsworth, Ed. First condor nest in tree discovered. Los Angeles Times. 24 September 1950.

Pros and condors. USA Today. 17 April 1996.

Frank Arundell, County Naturalist, admits with candor he knows condor. Ventura County News. 18 January 1951.

Brower, Kenneth. Night of the Condor. Omni. August 1979.

Sterner, Don. Condorminium close-up [part 1]. Animal Keepers’ Forum. September 1986.

Sterner, Don. Condorminium close-up, part 2 (an update). Animal Keepers’ Forum.  November 1986.

Condor or condon’t. Episode 203. 20 August 2014. <sciencesortof.com>

Houston, David C. To the vultures belong the spoils. Natural History. September 1994.