Ornithologist and artist N. John Schmitt knows how to create detailed scientific illustrations. But he also produces simpler sketches that convey a remarkable sense of life. These sketches are full of the activity, energy, and intelligence of birds.
This post presents examples of both forms of Schmitt’s California condor art.
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California condors have a reputation for suddenly appearing and disappearing. Here are 6 reports of this phenomenon from the 1850s to the 1970s.
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In 1882, Albert Kellogg described the sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana) as a “vast sylvan condor”. Such a lovely simile deserves a closer look.
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At the beginning of the 20th century, William Finley and Herman Bohlman, utilizing the best camera technology available at the time, produced remarkable black and white photos of the California condor. With their photos, Finley and Bohlman introduced a large audience to these great birds.
Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, Tim Huntington is producing exquisite color photos that bring viewers face-to-face with free-living condors. Huntington’s photos convey important and intimate details of the complex lives of California condors.
This post shows, first, a print by Huntington from my collection and then 6 of his published photos.
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There is little doubt that the California condor is with us today as a result of human management of the species. One critical component of this management has been captive rearing. In the most intensive form of captive rearing, humans take the role of condor parents starting when an egg is laid.
In this post I consider intensive captive rearing from a visual perspective. The photos (and an illustration) below “describe” the hands-on rearing process in a way that words cannot.
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Jane Goodall, noted scientist and conservationist, is the author of Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink (Grand Central, 2009). This book includes a chapter about the California condor that ends as follows:
I have a legal permit to carry a twenty-six-inch-long wing feather from a condor. During my lectures … I love to take this by the quill and pull it, very slowly, from its cardboard tube. It is one of my symbols of hope and never fails to produce an amazed gasp from the audience. And, I think, a sense of reverence.
In this post I present photos, illustrations, and descriptions of the feathers of California condors.
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A 1930 article in the Los Angeles Times presented
An interview with Dr. Vance Joseph Hoyt, author of last year’s best seller in animal stories ….
Continue reading “Silver Boy”