This blog is the product of 3 intersecting interests. I am interested in California condors, especially the relationship between these birds and humans through history. I am also interested in what history can tell us about our present and future. And I am interested in seeing that humans improve how we interact with our environment.

A view underlying this blog is that there is too much discussion about humans’ interactions with our environment – past, present, and future – that is based on too little specific information about those interactions. I have embraced the task of turning up some details that may be useful.

To further explain my motivations for producing this blog, I offer the following words of others:

Rebecca Solnit

The other affliction amnesia brings is a lack of examples of positive change, of popular power, evidence that we can do it and have done it…. We need litanies or recitations or monuments to these victories, so that they are landmarks in everyone’s mind.

Solnit, Rebecca. Hope is an embrace of the unknown. Guardian. 15 July 2016.

Charles Holder

No more interesting study, for the laymen or man of science, can be found than the effect of civilization upon the fauna of a continent.

Holder, Charles F. The passing show. Scientific American. 17 March 1900.

William Beebe

The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again.

Beebe, C William. The bird: its form and function. Henry Holt. 1906.

Peter Scott

… not one animal which has become extinct within historical times, such as the Dodo, the Quagga, the Great Auk, the Passenger Pigeon, the Blue Antelope, the Labrador Duck, the Carolina Parakeet (and about 100 more) could have delayed the progress of the human race in the smallest degree, had it survived.

Scott, Peter, editor. The launching of a new ark. Collins. 1965.

Thomas Lovejoy

Conservation is sometimes perceived as stopping everything cold, as holding whooping cranes in higher esteem than people. It is up to science to spread the understanding that the choice is not between wild places or people, it is between a rich or an impoverished existence of Man.

Kohm, Kathryn A, editor. Balancing on the brink of extinction. Island. 1991.

Ian McMillan

The real importance of saving such things as condors is not so much that we need condors as that we need to save them. We need to exercise and develop the human attributes required in saving condors; for these are the attributes so necessary in working out our own survival.

Adler, Nancy J. Condors set off debate on coast. New York Times. 27 November 1966.

Pete Dunne

We are involved and we have been involved with the California Condor for two hundred years. What we have not been, until now, is responsible.

Dunne, Pete. The wind masters. Houghton Mifflin. 1995.

Dick Smith & Robert Easton

There is something unreasonable about a condor. The bird has to be comprehended, rather than analyzed.

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

Carl Koford

One man, truly interested in condors, can do a great deal toward educating others.

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

Elliott Coues

… bibliography [is] a necessary nuisance, and a horrible drudgery that no mere drudge could perform. It takes a sort of an inspired idiot to be a good bibliographer, and his inspiration is as dangerous a gift as the appetite of the gambler or dipsomaniac ….

Coues, Elliott. Dr. Coues’ column. Osprey. November 1897.

Helen Macdonald

Wild things are made from human histories.

Macdonald, Helen. H is for hawk. Jonathan Cape. 2014.

D. H. Lawrence

Birds are the life of the skies, and when they fly, they reveal the thoughts of the skies.

Lawrence, D H. Birds, beasts and flowers. Martin Secker. 1923.

Dallas Lore Sharp

Wings are folded into every human story. I know as many commonplace people as any living man, I am sure, and every one of them has wings, and a story – a story of the wings, strong wings, or weak, or broken, or clipped, or caged.

Sharp, Dallas Lore. The radium of romance. Atlantic Monthly. July 1918.

William Leon Dawson

Really gentle folk must often sit at the second table simply because they do cherish their integrity.

Dawson, William Leon. The birds of California. South Moulton. 1923.

Brian S Pedersen
26 December 2019

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