Continuing my consideration of how California condors are described with words, here’s another post concerned with their size.
I turned up 3 centuries worth of articles with “giant” or “giants” referring to the California condor in the title:
Giants in Feathers. [San Francisco] Chronicle. 30 September 1894.
Half-Grown Giant Condor Captured. Sausalito News. 27 September 1902.
Giant Condor Supposed Extinct Seen in Forest. Los Angeles Times. 25 November 1928.
Think Twice before You Shoot a Giant Condor. Los Angeles Times. 30 September 1934.
Giant Condor Still on Wing in California. Los Angeles Times. 9 May 1943.
First Giant Condor of Year Is Seen near White River. Fresno Bee and Republican. 29 April 1952.
Realm of Giant Birds Studied. Los Angeles Times. 25 February 1965.
Doom Stalks Giant Bird. National Geographic School Bulletin. February 1970.
Giant Bird Faces Giant Problems of Survival. Outdoor California. September-October 1983.
California’s Winged Giants Still at Risk. New Scientist. 3 March 2007.
I found only one article with “gigantic” in the title:
Gigantic Condors with Wingspread of Fourteen Feet Found Feasting in Wild and Rugged Cuyama Valley. Los Angeles Times. 6 July 1934.
“Huge” was much less common:
A Huge Bird. Daily Alta California. 13 October 1867.
Huge Condors Seem Destined to Survive, after All. New York Times. 22 November 1983.
Many of the related “size” words that I searched for did not turn up in titles: colossal, immense, massive, stupendous, etc. But I did find:
Our Grandest Bird. Bird Watching. October 2017.
I like how “grandest” picks up the size plus the other superlative qualities of the California condor.
Of course, other size-related descriptors frequently show up within the text of articles, books, and so on. One of my favorites is “enormous bustards” in Thomas Nuttall’s A Manual of the Ornithology of the United States and of Canada (Hilliard and Brown, 1832). The Lewis and Clark Expedition had reported seeing “enormous buzzards” along the Columbia River. By the time that news reached Nuttall, zz became st. We now know that those bustards/buzzards were California condors.