17 October 2014

California Vulture Features

"We observe a paragraph going the rounds of the papers that the Condor had been found in the mountains east of Marysville, and much surprise has been expressed at the discovery, since a discovery it is claimed to be. If those who pretend thus to pass upon the species of birds found in California would pay a little more attention to the subject, they would never be guilty of making so stupid a blunder.

"The bird in question is the 'California Vulture' proper, so classed by Audubon and Wilson, and is the largest bird found upon the North American Continent. It takes rank at the head of the list of the 'Birds of America' in Audubon's capital work, and we presume there are few who have made a study of the birds of California who have not often seen it in the solitary plains and upon the lonely mountain tops. The enormous proportions of the full grown male bird are well calculated to deceive those unacquainted with them into the belief that they are one and the same with the South American Condor. The head and neck are bare, the skin partaking in the old bird of a dirty orange color, the plumage of the back black, the breast and wing coverts a dirty brown. A small specimen of the bird, stuffed and preserved, can be seen in the rooms of the California Academy in this city."

August 22, 1858. The California vulture. Daily Alta California 10(230): 2.