Regional field guides & checklists: 1964-2009

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.

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Explaining a mysterious death

The headline “Rare Condor’s Fall from the Sky Remains a Puzzle” appears in the Fresno Bee newspaper for 26 May 1965. The article explains:

The condor’s mysterious death was witnessed Sunday by G. B. (Jerry) Coigny … He said it was making low circles about 50 feet high when it stopped flying and plummeted to the ground.

Here’s the story, as told in a government report and other publications.

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Sighting reports in News from the Bird-Banders

News from the Bird-Banders was a monthly newsletter first published in 1926. This publication of the Western Bird Banding Association was a venue for amateur and professional ornithologists to share information about their studies of bird movements and survival.

I will note the (limited) efforts to band California condors in a future post. In this post I share reports of condor sightings that appeared in News from the Bird-Banders in the 1930s-1950s. With one exception, these reports are excerpts from the minutes of meetings of the Western Bird Banding Association.

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