17 October 2014

Measurements of California Condor Killed at Monterey

"A huge specimen of this bird was killed a few days since on the beach at Monterey. The dimensions are given as follows, by a correspondent of the California Farmer:

"The bird before us is a female, and weighed 20 pounds, avoirdupois, when killed. The following are its dimensions and proportions: From beak to the end of tail feathers, four feet six inches; from tip to tip of the wings, stretched out, eight feet four inches; one wing, three feet three inches; tail feathers, twelve in number and fifteen inches long; from the ruffle on neck to vent, two feet nine inches. It has thirty-two brachial feathers on each wing. the five long outer wing feathers measure two feet five inches; it breadth across the breast bone is eight inches; under the wings and over the breast it has a long triangular layer of dirty white feathers, and the outside of the lower part of the wings is also dashed with a few feathers tipped with white.

"The head, down to the commencement of the beak, is covered with a beautiful lemon colored loose skin. The beak is one and six-eighths of an inch long, and curved over with a point as hard as iron, with a waved edge as sharp as a knife; the under beak is a perfect half cylinder, into which fits with the nicest accuracy a hollow tongue of the same shape. The tongue is a curious feature, being one and seven-eighths of an inch long by half an inch broad, and is serrated with a hardened edging inclining down the gullet, which the bird uses with great force and power in reducing its food for digestion previous to swallowing.

"The head is seven inches long, and is barred over with a triangular shaped band of black featherets on a naked white skin. Across the crown is measures three inches. The neck is bare of feathers, is of a dirty flesh color, and is seven inches long from the base of the skull to the ruffle at the root of the neck; it is furnished with a ruffle of stiff, broad feathers, with elongated points at the root of the neck, into which it buries its neck when at rest.

"Its legs are of a dirty white color, and measure ten inches from the knee joint to the end of the claw of the main toe. The feet consist of four toes, which are armed with strong black curved claws; its middle toe is five and a half inches long, which includes a claw of one and a half inches in length; the hind tow, with a claw, is only one and a half inches long. The breadth of the foot across the palm is two and one-fourth inches. The length of the legs from the hip joint to the end of the middle toe is fifteen inches."

November 11, 1854. California condor. Sacramento Daily Union 8(1135): 3.