Feathers

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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Comparing skulls

Of all the bones in a bird’s body, surely those that comprise the skull are the most fascinating. It is impossible to look at a bird skull without recognizing features that are also found in the human skull.

During the middle decades of the 20th century, ornithologist Harvey Fisher published several articles about the anatomy of New World vultures. This family of birds includes 7 species, one of which is the California condor.

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Century-old books for younger children

How was knowledge of natural history conveyed to children in the past? Books can provide insights into the nature of the “environmental education” available to our great- … -grandparents.

In this post I note 3 books for younger children. Only one of these refers specifically to the California condor. As is typical for the time, the other 2 refer to the “condor”, by which they mean the Andean condor. Even in the USA, the California condor was not as well known as the Andean condor a century ago. Nevertheless, I consider all 3 books here because they each take different approaches to conveying understanding to children.

01 Pictures and stories of animals for the little ones

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