Cover image for The California condor : a saga of natural history and conservation
The California condor : a saga of natural history and conservation
Snyder, Noel F. R.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Diego, Calif. ; London : Academic, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxi, 410 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 28 cm.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
QL696.F33 S69 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

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As the largest flying bird of North America, and one of the most endangered, the California Condor has been a source of tremendous interest and awe. This book offers up-to-date information on both the biology and conservation of the condor, as analyzed by the two most knowledgeable field biologists to have studied the species. The authors present first a thorough review of the history of condor studies and conservation efforts, then a detailed examination of the biology and recent decline of the species, and finally a hopeful plan for ultimate restoration of the species as a viable member of wild ecosystems. The book is illustrated with over a hundred superb color photographs covering numerous aspects of natural history of the species and recent conservation efforts on its behalf. Conservation of the California Condor has always been highly controversial, and this book does not shrink from controversy. Instead it offers a broad and insightful, but nevertheless sympathetic treatment of the many political conflicts of the past century.

Key Features?

Reviews historical account of condor biology and conservation
Analyzes nest site characteristics and limitations
Studies breeding behavior and analyzes breeding effort and success
Discusses mortality rates and the causes for their decline and efforts to improve reproduction
Discusses the techniques, problems, and results of captive breeding and release programs

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Here is one of the most thorough, well-illustrated, and accessible books on an endangered species ever written. Considering its length and the presence of 122 color photographs and other abundant graphics, it is remarkably inexpensive. The Snyders, both field biologists, have written five other titles on raptors and parrots. They have been honored for their work, as they might be again for this fine monograph. The California condor story is extraordinary. These huge birds, sometimes regarded as Pleistocene relicts, would be extinct were it not for the massive efforts of wildlife biologists, veterinarians, and an army of volunteers. The Snyders tell of this rescue effort with authority, verve, and occasional humor, accounting the controversies, failures, triumphs, and politics as well as the major personalities involved. Related species and some other California wildlife are also described. While there are a dozen other good condor titles, the Snyders' book is the one to have. Highly recommended for all natural history collections.DHenry T. Armistead, Free Lib. of Philadelphia (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

As the largest flying bird in North America and one of the most endangered, the California condor has inspired humans for aeons and, over the last half-century, has received enormous attention from conservation biologists. In this book, undisputed authorities Noel Snyder and Helen Snyder synthesize the complex biogeographic and natural history of this bird and the groundbreaking efforts that have gone into preventing its extinction. With a particular focus on the population decline, the capture of the last wild individuals, and reintroduction programs of the 1980s, the authors tell a compelling and illustrative story of the perils of species endangerment and the obstacles to be overcome before the species could be rereleased into the wild. The book contains more than 100 color photographs along with numerous charts and black-and-white illustrations. Though it is accessible to undergraduates, it also presents a wealth of advanced concepts and information that would be useful to any natural resource professional dealing with rare species. This is the definitive summary of the biology and conservation issues related to the California condor, and will likely remain so for many years. General readers; upper-division undergraduates through professionals. D. Flaspohler; Michigan Technological University

Table of Contents

About the Authorsp. VI
Photo Creditsp. VII
Dedicationp. XI
Prologuep. XIII
Part I Historical and Background Matters
Chapter 1 Some Perspectives on Basic Condor Biologyp. 2
Chapter 2 California Condors in Prehistoric, Historic, and Modern Human Culturesp. 30
Chapter 3 Condor Research and Conservation in the Early-Mid 20th Centuryp. 49
Part II Struggles to Launch a New Program
Chapter 4 Battles in the Political Arenap. 90
Chapter 5 Africa and Perup. 102
Chapter 6 Development and Testing of Research Techniquesp. 115
Part III Research Results of the New Program
Chapter 7 Censusingp. 128
Chapter 8 Movements and Foodp. 139
Chapter 9 Nest Sitesp. 159
Chapter 10 Breeding Behaviorp. 176
Chapter 11 Breeding Effort and Successp. 213
Chapter 12 Mortalityp. 232
Part IV Conservation in the 1980s
Chapter 13 Field Conservation and Habitat Preservationp. 264
Chapter 14 Formation of a Captive Flockp. 278
Chapter 15 The Audubon Lawsuit and the Valentine's Day Docufestop. 307
Part V Restoration
Chapter 16 Captive Breedingp. 316
Chapter 17 Releases to the Wildp. 339
Part VI A General Evaluation
Chapter 18 Overviewp. 366
Epiloguep. 391
Acknowledgmentsp. 393
Bibliographyp. 396
Indexp. 404