The words that humans choose when discussing the California condor reflect how we perceive these birds and our attitudes toward them. In this post, I consider the word “protect” in its various forms.
While stumbling around my bibliography about the California condor, I have noticed that there are condors and then there are “condor things”. This post is about the latter.
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.
“Critic at Large” was the title of a regular column in the New York Times by Brooks Atkinson. Atkinson devoted some of these columns to the California condor. He also wrote about condors in magazines and books. Here is an appreciative look.
Continuing my consideration of how California condors are described with words, here’s another post concerned with their size.