ISBN-10:
0520242564
ISBN-13:
9780520242562
Pub. Date:
03/14/2005
Publisher:
University of California Press
Introduction to the California Condor / Edition 1

Introduction to the California Condor / Edition 1

by Noel Snyder, Helen SnyderNoel Snyder

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Overview

The story of the California Condor—an awe-inspiring symbol of wilderness—is one of the most dramatic and contentious in conservation biology. Huge scavengers with wingspans reaching more than nine feet, Condors declined by 1985 to just nine individuals left in the wild. At that point, under a highly controversial program, the last birds were brought into captivity to create a population that could eventually be reestablished in nature. This engaging book, written by two scientists who were intimately involved with the Condor conservation effort, tells the full story of the California Condor, from the bird's evolution and biology to its captive breeding and subsequent releases, and its uncertain future. It introduces the largest soaring bird in the continental United States to a broad audience and at the same time presents an important case study of a critically endangered species.

Throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Condors suffered from a variety of stresses—from shooting to strychnine poisoning that was an inadvertent side effect of campaigns to exterminate wolves and grizzly bears from California. Condors also faced dramatic declines in their food supply and progressively smaller foraging habitats. But as we are now coming to understand, the most important cause of their decline was lead poisoning caused by the ingestion of the ammunition fragments often present in its carrion food supply, especially in deer that were killed, but not recovered, by hunters. Noel and Helen Snyder delineate in clear fashion the myriad issues facing the Condor today and, looking to the future, convey a measure of hope that we may still achieve viable wild populations of this magnificent denizen of the California landscape.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520242562
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 03/14/2005
Series: California Natural History Guides , #81
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 889,840
Product dimensions: 4.50(w) x 7.25(h) x 0.81(d)

About the Author


Noel F. R. Snyder and Helen A. Snyder are ornithologists who specialize in birds of prey and bird conservation. Among their books are Birds of Prey: Natural History and Conservation of North American Raptors (1991) and The California Condor: A Saga of Natural History and Conservation (2000).

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments

1. GIANT SCAVENGERS
Important Characteristics of the California Condor
Scavenging as a Lifestyle
Relationship of Body Size and Bill Shape to Diet
Other Specific Adaptations for Scavenging

2. FOOD AND MOVEMENTS
Diet Diversity
Quantitative Food Needs
Finding and Competing for Food
Behavior While Ingesting Food
Foraging Regions
Daily Movements of Breeders and Nonbreeders
Movements Related to Seasonal Changes in Food Availability
Changes in Food Availability in Historical Times

3. BREEDING BIOLOGY
Courtship and Pair Formation
Nest Sites
Nest Investigations
Egg Laying and Incubation
Hatching and the Nestling Period
Fledging
Natural Enemies of Breeding Condors

4. THE HISTORIC DECLINE
Early Records
First Population Estimates
Counts of the 1980s and a General Assessment
Condor Numbers around 1900

5. WHAT CAUSED THE HISTORICAL DECLINE? EARLY HYPOTHESES
Shooting
Poisoning
Food Scarcity
Human Disturbance of Nesting Areas
DDE Contamination
Collisions
Calcium Stress
Habitat Loss
Other Miscellaneous Stresses

6. STUDIES OF THE DECLINE IN THE 1980S
Censusing Efforts and Determination of Mortality Rates
Reproductive Studies of the 1980s
Mortality Studies of the 1980s and Later Years

7. HISTORICAL CONSERVATION EFFORTS
Habitat Protection
Other Historic Conservation Measures
Miscellaneous Conservation Efforts of the 1970s and Early 1980s
Summary of Early Conservation Efforts

8. CAPTIVE BREEDING
Early Opposition to Captive Breeding
Reversing the Opposition to Captive Breeding
Establishment of a Captive Flock
Multiple-Clutching
An Early-Release Proposal and the Crisis of 1985
Reproductive Performance of the Captive Flock
Captive Breeding and Rearing Procedures
Genetic Concerns

9. RELEASES INTO THE WILD
A Rationale for Releases
First Releases of Andean and California Condors
A Conference on Behavioral Problems
Additional Problems
Summary of Progress

10. CONDOR CONSERVATION IN A CHANGING WORLD
Solutions to the Lead Problem
Quality versus Quantity in Release Strategies
Unforeseen Problems

Timeline of Important Habitat Protection Actions
References and Further Reading
Art Credits
Index

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