The Los Angeles Audubon Society’s fund

Since 1934, the Los Angeles Audubon Society has been publishing a regular newsletter titled Western Tanager. In reviewing backissues for mentions of the California condor, I was struck by the number of mentions to the group’s fund for the condor.

In this post, I report some of what I learned about the organization’s fund-raising for the California condor from issues of Western Tanager dated 1939-1969.

The April 1939 issue included an item headed “‘Save the Condor’ Fund – Benefit”. Here’s the full text:

The National Association of Audubon Societies, 1006 Fifth Avenue, N.Y., have created a Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, to study the habits of the Condor and get a complete life history of these rare birds, to better determine the causes for their small numbers, and in the hopes of being able to check their losses before [it is] too late. The sole known habitat of these birds now is Los Padres National Forest, in California.

The October 1939 issue provided details about the research plans and fund raising in an article by C. V. Duff. Here are excerpts concerning the latter:

In order to finance this study it was necessary to appeal to people who were interested in bird study and conservation. Some substantial gifts have been received but in order for this most important study to go forward, a considerable amount of money is still needed. The local Audubon Societies raised some money through the showing of the remarkable pictures taken of the Tufted Jay and other interesting birds in Mexico, by Dr. R. T. Moore, who very generously gave of his time to show his pictures in the interest of the Condor Fund.

I like the idea of other bird species lending a wing to support the California condor.

In the April 1959 issue, Robert Blackstone, the president of the Los Angeles Audubon Society, notes that the California condor’s habitat is “in the very ‘back yard’ … of those of us who live in the Los Angeles area”. So he calls for the organization to “take a lead in supporting the ‘Condor Sanctuary’”. In addition to requesting donations from members, Blackstone notes that most-recent issue of the Los Angeles Audubon Society’s Year-Book did not include a membership list so as to save on printing. Some of those savings were allocated to the “Condor Sanctuary Fund”.

The June 1962 issue reported that:

$649.53 was contributed to the CONDOR FUND between June 26, 1961 and May 1, 1962. This far surpasses the $494.00 collected over the previous year …

The March 1965 issue included an item titled “Condor Fund”. Here are excerpts:

Each year at this time the Los Angeles Audubon Society launches a campaign for funds to aid in the preservation of the California condor.

Enclosed with this issue … you will find an envelope and card for your convenience in making your contribution … If our willingness to work to preserve such species as the Condor from extinction is [a] “measure of our civilization”, let us not be “measured and found wanting”.

In the latter 1960s, stand-alone notices appeared in a number of issues. These included:

Don’t forget to send that check to the Condor Fund!

Give to the Condor Fund … now!

Those brief notices sometimes appeared within the masthead of Western Tanager.

Another notice showed a simple drawing of a California condor as it would appear flying directly overhead. The accompanying text included:

Your past gifts have produced results. We must not stop now!

The above is just an overview. There is much more about the Los Angeles Audubon Society’s efforts on behalf of the California condor in the pages of Western Tanager, including after 1969.

I will close this post with my appreciation to members of the Los Angeles Audubon Society for their significant efforts, efforts that made it possible for the California condor to still be with us today.