Condor: To the Brink and Back, the Life and Times of One Giant Bird

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By John Nielsen, 2007. Paperback, 257 pages.

From the back cover: “Flying on wings nearly ten feet wide from tip to tip, the California condor, by rights, should be extinct by now. Fifteen years ago, there were only twenty-seven left in the world, all in zoos, with none even attempting to reproduce. But small, separate groups of passionate individuals refused to allow ‘the bird with one wing in the grave’ to fade away. They fought over the ‘how’ and ‘why,’ and injured themselves and the species they were desperate to save in the process, yet miraculously, the condor has soared past the brink of extinction.

Condor is, at once, the astonishing story of the impossible survival of North America’s largest flying bird; a provocative tale of a wild, giant state that has become too crowded and small; and a riveting look at the behind-the-scenes dramas that have shaped the modern environmental movement.”

As told by John Nielsen, environmental correspondent with National Public Radio who grew up in the small town of Piru along the southern boundary of the Los Padres National Forest, this is a fascinating tale of hope and survival.