#1’s name?

In 1967, an emaciated young condor was taken to the Los Angeles Zoo for rehabilitation. After receiving expert care, the condor was released into the wild but watched closely. The young bird did not thrive and the decision was made to recapture and provide a permanent home for the bird at the zoo.

The bird in question is, according to the studbook that lists every individual California condor on Earth, California condor #1.

But #1 is hardly a suitable name for “one of the most, if not the most, genetically valuable California condor in the world” – that’s according to Los Angeles Zoo Curator of Birds Mike Maxey, as quoted in the Fall 2016 issue of Zoo View magazine. That 3-year-old article also reported that #1 had so far fathered 34 chicks!

Condor #1 does have a “real” name but there is some ambiguity surrounding that name. Here’s the story.

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Big & large

Among the reasons why California condors attract the interest of humans is the birds’ exceptional size. But don’t take my word for it. For this post I searched my bibliography for items with titles that refer to the California condor as big or large.

Together, these articles and books tell their own version of the story of condors and humans.

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