Essential books

With summer winding down and the academic year about to begin, it seems an appropriate time to consider the essential books about the California condor.

I have limited my choices here to works that are focused on the California condor and intended for adult readers. I included any format that is thick enough to stand on a bookshelf.

The 17 books include those for general readers and technical readers. Among the authors are several of the authorities on the California condor.

The publication dates range from 1953 to 2013. Half were published since 2000, indicating the acceleration of interest in the California condor. The older books are still very much deserving of attention.

A notable feature of nearly all these books is their interdisciplinary character. There is plenty of ornithology and ecology here, but also history, politics, ethics, and other matters. All of these books share a strong sense of appreciation for the wonder that is the California condor.

The books are listed below in order of publication date. The bibliographic details provided are for the original edition of each. The images shown, of either the title page or cover, are from the editions in my library, some of which are paperbacks or reprints.

Happy reading!

01 Koford 1953
Koford, Carl B. 1953. The California condor. National Audubon Society.

02 Smith & Easton 1964
Smith, Dick, and Robert Easton. California condor: vanishing American. McNally and Loftin. 1964.

03 McMillan 1968
McMillan, Ian. Man and the California condor: the embattled history and uncertain future of North America’s largest free-living bird. Dutton. 1968.

04 Caras 1970
Caras, Roger A. Source of the thunder: the biography of a California condor. Little, Brown. 1970.

05 Smith 1978
Smith, Dick. Condor journal: the history, mythology, and reality of the California condor. Capra. 1978.

06 Wilbur 1978
Wilbur, Sanford R. The California condor, 1966-76: a look at its past and future. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1978

07 Phillips & Nash 1981
Phillips, David, and Hugh Nash, editors. The condor question: captive or forever free? Friends of the Earth. 1981.

08 Darlington 1987
Darlington, David In condor country: a portrait of a landscape, its denizens, and its defenders. Houghton Mifflin. 1987.

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

10 Wilbur 2004
Wilbur, Sanford R. Condor tales: what I learned in twelve years with the big birds. Symbios. 2004.

11 Snyder & Snyder 2005
Snyder, Noel F R, and Helen A Snyder. Introduction to the California condor. University of California Press. 2005.

12 Moir 2006
Moir, John. Return of the condor: the race to save our largest bird from extinction. Lyons. 2006.

13 Nielsen 2006
Nielsen, John. Condor: to the brink and back – the life and times of one giant bird. HarperCollins. 2006.

14 Mee & Hall 2007
Mee, Allan, and Linnea S Hall, editors. California condors in the 21st century. Nuttall Ornithological Club. 2007.

15 Osborn 2007
Osborn, Sophie A H. Condors in canyon country: the return of the California condor to the Grand Canyon region. Grand Canyon Association. 2007.

16 Wilbur 2012
Wilbur, Sanford R. Nine feet from tip to tip: the California condor through history. Symbios. 2012.

17 D'Elia & Haig 2013
D’Elia, Jesse, and Susan M Haig. California condors in the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State University Press. 2013.

I am looking forward to the publication of the 18th essential book on the California condor.