Military symbolism

In The Seven States of California: A Natural and Human History (Henry Holt, 1995), author Philip Fradkin writes of the California condor:

I have often wondered what the fascination was with this carrion-eating vulture that is related to the European griffin. There was, of course, size and rarity and all that ferocious blackness topped by a bare neck and ruby-red eyes. The condor was a military symbol, as well as a meal ticket for ornithologists.

For this post, I set aside Fradkin’s erroneous implication that the California condor and European griffin are especially related. I do not dispute his claim that condors are “ferocious”. And I ignore his negative comment about the ornithologists who have and continue work to prevent the condor’s extinction.

This post is about Fradkin’s observation (for which he offers no evidence) that the California condor is a “military symbol”.

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The shirt maker Lacoste, known for its alligator logo, is offering limited numbers of shirts with the logos of endangered species, including the California condor. Part of the profits will be donated to IUCN, the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

In this post I note Lacoste’s project and show photos of some “condor” shirts from my closet.

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