Today, A Message from Martha is published in the USA – six days before the exact centenary of Martha’s death in Cincinnati Zoo on 1 September 1914.
- this was the most numerous bird in the world and it lived in your forests (Chapter 3) – and now it is extinct (Chapter 5).
- many of the greats of American ornithology and conservation play a part in this story – Audubon, Wildon, Muir etc
- it was ‘progress’ that did for the Passenger Pigeon – when the West was won, the Wild was lost (see Chapter 6) – should we reconsider what we mean by progress (Chapter 7)?
- the Passenger Pigeon’s extinction was part of much wider damage to the north American ecology in the late nineteenth century – see the loss of the Passenger Pigeon in context
- read the speech that President Obama should make at Cincinnati Zoo on 1 September (Chapter 7)
- visit the places that feature in the Passenger Pigeon story and see them through the eyes of an English biologist (Chapter 4)
- if your name is Grier then your great, great grandmother may feature in Chapter 6 as another Ohio Martha who died on 1 September 1914
- how many eggs did Passenger Pigeons lay? and why does it matter? (see Chapter 2)
- would you want the Passenger Pigeon back in your forests (Chapter 7)?
- does the extinction of the most numerous bird in the world, in recent times, really matter – it does to me (Chapter 7)?
This is a book about a bird, but it’s a book about a country and and about the way we live on this small planet. The extinction of the Passenger Pigeon is relevant to us today whether we live in the USA or anywhere else on Earth.