Thomas R. Dunlap’s excellent In the Field, among the Feathered: a History of Birders and Their Guides (Oxford University Press, 2011) describes how bird guides gradually improved over time. One important innovation was the development of place- or region-specific guides and checklists.
In this post, I note 7 such guides and checklists with an eye on the California condor.
This first booklet does not include the California condor among its 255 listed bird species:
Even the sub-list of species “not to be expected normally” does not include the condor.
The next booklet was published in 1966 by the Golden Gate Audubon Society:
Here, the California condor is classified as “rare” and some range details are provided:
Still regularly seen along the west side of the San Joaquin Valley north to southeastern San Benito County and along the east side north to Fresno County, occasionally farther north.
Another booklet is for a region to the south:
The text here indicates that California condors will be seen less than 25% of the time on visits “to the right place”. Some of those right places are described and shown in a fine map credited to Richard J. Smith:
Next is a checklist in the form of a single, folded sheet of paper:
The relevant text is to the point:
This single, folded page is dated 1972:
Codes indicate that California condors are seen in the winter, albeit rarely, in the city and foothills of Palo Alto (near Stanford University):
Another single, folded page describes the California condor as “extirpated from county”:
In fact, there were no California condors in the wild anywhere in the world when this Los Angeles County checklist was published.
A decade-old booklet describes itself as “the official checklist of birds recorded in California, as maintained by the Western Field Ornithologists’ California Bird Records Committee”:
Here is the relevant text:
That code E indicates a species “extirpated as naturally occurring in California”.
Finally, I note a different sort of list:
Published in 1984, this single sheet measures just 4 × 7 inches when folded but 4 × 50 inches when unfolded. When I first unfolded this document, I was surprised by its size. No doubt the creators wanted to make an impression.
The list includes animals and plants. The California condor is the 1st species listed under the Falconiformes (birds of prey).
I plan a future post about the many checklists published by the American Birding Association.