Passenger Pigeon Day

The Passenger Pigeon memorial at Cincinnati Zoo.
On 1 September 1914, between midday and 1 pm, in the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Cincinnati, Ohio, a pigeon breathed her last, and with her died her species.           

The pigeon was known as Martha, and the species was the Passenger Pigeon. Amongst all extinctions, this example remains unusual in two respects: the precision with which the timing is known and the overwhelming abundance of the species just a few decades earlier – for, just a few decades before Martha died, the Passenger Pigeon was the commonest bird on Earth.

Those are the first two paragraphs of my book on the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon (published 2014 – it seems a long time ago).

I think of the Passenger Pigeon often, but always on this day of the year.

A Message from Martha: the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and its relevance today by Mark Avery is published by Bloomsbury.  See reviews – click here.


2 Replies to “Passenger Pigeon Day”

  1. An important moment to mark. Is there already a ‘global extinction day’? Only seems to be an ‘endangered species day’ in May.

    1. I remember a group called the The Corner Laughers produced a very evocative song called “Martha” which it would be very nice to hear again.

Comments are closed.