It’s that day again

1 September 1914 saw the death of a female Passenger Pigeon in Cincinnati Zoo. That bird was called Martha and was the last Passenger Pigeon to draw breath – the last individual of what had not long before been the most numerous bird species on this planet. This is my book on the subject (still…

Missed this one!

Having been in the USA for a significant chunk of time recently, I noticed this press release.  It refers to the extinct Carolina Parakeet – a species which was probably last seeen in the wild in 1904, but whose last individual survivor died in Cincinnati Zoo (in the same cage that housed the last Passenger…

Liverpool, last week

I spent a few days in Liverpool last week where I added Oystercatcher to my Aintree bird list and several hundred pounds to my bank balance.  I spent some great time with some close friends and it was kind of them to set it up as a birthday treat for me. But I also took…

The Passenger Pigeon’s DNA

I’ll always be interested in anything to do with the Passenger Pigeon – the formerly most abundant species on Earth but which was driven to extinction, finally, on 1 September 1914. A new paper in Science suggests that Passenger Pigeons had a very low genetic diversity.  the authors describe this as surprising but I’m not…

Passenger Pigeon day

‘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…