Passenger Pigeon day


Yesterday was a really nice day.

I did a radio interview early in the morning on the fact that it was the exact centenary of the death of Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon on Earth, and then had breakfast in the garden before taking my ‘new’ son-in-law and daughter to the airport to set off on their honeymoon.

Then I headed back to the headquarters of the RSPB to give a talk about Passenger Pigeons to a packed room of friends and former colleagues.  The story of the loss of the formerly commonest bird on the planet really does capture the imagination and there were lots of questions after my talk.  I sold quite a few books and these were all dated 1 September 2014 and so, just perhaps, will have enhanced value some time in the future rather than being devalued by my scrawl.

I’ll be giving quite a few talks about Martha over the next few weeks and am happy to give some more if you’d like to hear more about the amazing story of the Passenger Pigeon and what it means for us these days.

The evening was spent in the ‘Hidden Rooms‘ in Cambridge with a bunch of nature conservationists  – a mixture of members of the local Cambridge Conservation Forum and an interdisciplinary conference on nature conservation. We were all treated to the Old World premiere of the Corner Laughers‘ song, Martha, sung by the multi-talented Josie Chambers (see here and here). Here is a video of the singing of Martha in Cambridge.





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3 Replies to “Passenger Pigeon day”

  1. Great book, great talk - thank you for both. My now signed copy has pride of place on the bookcase between Richard Mabey's 'The Oxford Book of Nature Writing' and A J P Taylor's 'The Trouble Makers', which you may or may not feel is appropriate.

    I enjoyed the book very much and I feel that it could and should do very well and have a big impact. The bit I keep going back to is the quote from Aldo Leopold - "only the hills will know" - incredible. And every time I see a collared dove or a wood pigeon I try to admire rather than take for granted, and try to imagine what a flock of their extinct north American cousins would have been like.


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