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”.

Continue reading “Military symbolism”

Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society’s 1981 conference

In 1981, the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society held a conference concerning the California condor. A transcript was published the next year. However, this document is not currently in a library (at least a library that is part of the WorldCat network).

As I have an original copy of the conference proceedings, here are some details about the conference and excerpts from the presentations and discussions.

Continue reading “Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society’s 1981 conference”

Misspelled scientific names

Correctly spelling scientific names has never been easy. The words and their forms are unfamiliar to most people. Today’s word processors are no help; their spell checkers could hardly be expected to include the scientific names of even common species.

So misspelled scientific names are inevitable. These misspellings can be a problem for anyone doing computerized searches for a particular scientific name. But, for the most part, misspellings are a curiosity and a source of momentary delight for readers.

The California condor has been assigned a number of scientific names through the years. In this post, I note some examples of how those names have been misspelled (and do so with trepidation as I have and will surely continue to misspell names).

Continue reading “Misspelled scientific names”