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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Flying observations

Lynn Farrar contributed this report to American Birds in 1974:

Two [California condors] were seen from a jet airplane over Hollister Apr. 16! They were less than 1000 feet below the ascending jet and were apparently undisturbed. Calculations indicate they may have been flying as much as 15,000 feet above sea level.

At the time of this sighting there were only 30-some condors in the wild and Farrar’s 2 birds were a considerable ways north of their prime habitat. Fortune was with Farrar on that flight.

In the rest of this post, I note 2 older reports of seeing California condors from the air.

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