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Condors again on KCET, Saturday 10 Sept. 6 p.m. – Rebroadcast

September 8, 2011

H. Hill and a 3-day-old chick

KCET decided to rebroadcast this program which should be of special interest to all Southern California birders.
The 30-minute film In Search of the California Condor airs again on KCET this coming Saturday, 10 Sept. at 6 p.m.  Be sure to set your recording device if you missed it the first time. I hadn’t seen any of this footage before, and it was fascinating to see how birding, filming and scrambling around in the rocky hills was done over 60 years ago.

Link to KCET program announcement.

I was again alerted to this by Malibu resident, pro surfer and actor, Bob Purvey, with whom I sat many times at the Malibu Lagoon Task Force and Malibu Creek Watershed Committee meetings. Bob both co-edited and narrates the film.

The producer Matrine Jozan Work sent me this description of the film and the following biography of her late husband, mentioning that her husband used to present his films to Audubon chapters many years ago.  She may be contacted at:  <>

In Search of the California Condor

This original 16 mm film footage was shot by filmmaker Matrine Jozan Work’s late husband Telford Work, then a student at Stanford University Medical School. It documents the search for condors in the Sespe area of Southern California. From egg to six months of age the condor is shown in its natural habitat. By digitizing the 16 mm film and adding narration and music, Martine Work was able to put this old footage in a more educational and palatable format. Photographs from T. Work’s archives and other sources (with written permission) were used to make up a small introduction about the history of the condor and a conclusion covering the recent successes in recovery. Both the original film and photographs have been donated to the Museum of Santa Barbara.
Finalist:  Merit Award for Editing at the 32 International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula, Montana.

Biography of Telford Work, MD, 1921 – 1995
Telford Hindley Work was born July 1921, in Selma, nestled in the heart of the grand San Joaquin Valley, California. He came from a family of go-getters, adventurers, and innovative educators, where men are strong headed visionaries, and women powerfully independent. One grand father was the founder of Texas State College for Women in Denton; an uncle had conceived and engineered the first snow surveys used to predict the availability of spring water for the California farmers. His father, a newspaper publisher, spearheaded the computerization of the Los Angeles Bureau Publications in the 70’s. He spent his teenager’s years in the Pacific Palisades, hunting for fossils, wiring the neighborhood trees to “communicate with his bodies”, and earning money as a paper boy, delivering the Country Gentleman and the Saturday Evening Post “on horseback” to such celebrities as Aldus Huxley, Thomas Mann, Elizabeth Goudge and Linda Darnell. While in high school, he developed what was to be a long time interest and second career in still and motion picture photography.

He enrolled at Stanford University. To pay for his tuition, he worked as a busboy in the women’s dining hall, and at night, as a printer devil for the Stanford newspaper. His study of the nest life of the Turkey vulture supported by the the now defunct Stanford Museum of Natural History and thus published his first scientific paper  northern California; the project, supported by History, led to his first scientific publication in 1942, in the prestigious “Condor” magazine.

He completed his graduate studies in 1942, and was accepted at Stanford Medical School. The war had begun and Telford elected to serve in the Navy. Despite the demands of hospital internship, he found time to study the condors struggling in the Sespe Mountains of Southern California to survive hunting, poisoning and the human impact on their ecosystem. His film “In Search of the California Condor” covers the development of this bird from hatching to maturity, and although controversial at the time, will remain a unique and rare footage of these near extinct vultures. The 16mm footage taken with a Bolex camera was transferred to digital and had to be extensively edited. Telford Work’s field diaries and the vast literature available were used to write the narration.


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