Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated magazine has published several articles featuring or mentioning the California condor. In this post, I note and present photographs from a substantial article that appeared nearly 60 years ago.

01 Sports Illustrated 1960 cover

Gilbert Cant’s “Condors on the Rise” was an addendum to the Sports Illustrated issue dated 18 July 1960.

02a Cant 1960a

By addendum, I mean the article, along with a number of advertisements, occupied 8 specially-number pages at the issue’s center.

Cant’s article begins by describing a field trip that was part of a Cooper Ornithological Society conference: 24 vehicles that

carried an assortment of men and women of all ages and an almost equal weight and variety of high-grade optical equipment from all over the world.

The purpose of the field trip was to see California condors and the result was “Success!”

The article is optimistic about the state of the condor:

… most veterans of the fight to save the condor believe the birds have increased from a low of scarcely more than 50 in the late 1940s to at least 70, and perhaps more, today.

I like this photo of some of the condor watchers:

02b Cant 1960b

And, for 1960, this is a fine photo of a condor preparing to land:

02c Cant 1960c

The article presents the basic natural history of the California condor and some history of the condor-human relationship. A map delineates the condor’s range and identifies 7 sites where readers might see condors:

02d Cant 1960d

The map’s detailed caption provides driving directions to each viewing point.

The author concludes the article with good advice and a nice tribute:

Man is not yet wise enough to pick and choose what is worth conserving. If he is to serve and conserve himself, he had best conserve something of everything else, including the vultures … And the most splendid of vultures is the California condor.

Unfortunately, no photographer or cartographer was credited in the article.

Other articles from Sports Illustrated that feature the California condor are:

Macdonald, Ross. A death road for the condor. 06 April 1964.

Nielson, John. Last chance for the condor. 23 March 1987.