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Martha and the extinction of passenger pigeons

"...100 years ago this week, the very last pigeon of her kind died in her cage at the Cincinnati Zoo. Her name was Martha, and her passing merits our close attention today." Read Cornell Lab of Ornithology director John Fitzpatrick essay about the "swift" eradication of the species and the lesson of "timely conservation" in the New York Times Sunday Review.

Joel Greenberg, who wrote a book and produced a film about passenger pigeons, penned a requiem for Martha at Yale E360. Barry Yeoman for Audubon Magazine also wrote about what this species' extinction can teach us.

NPR covered a commemorative event for Martha at the Cincinnati Zoo.

National Geographic wrote about the de-extinction of the passenger pigeon!

P.S. In today's Times, Andy Revkin argues that the 19th century social network, the telegraph, hastened the demise of the passenger pigeon, while today, social media might "forestall future extinctions."

P.P.S. Was there an "additional factor" in the demise of the passenger pigeon? Elizabeth Kolbert discusses possible scenarios in The New Yorker.


Gone but not forgotten! Great post! I hope they still teach history like this in school. I remember reading about this when I was in High school and the word ecology was just becoming part of our vocabulary!
local ecologist said…
Hi Laurin, thanks for reading *and* commenting. There's a lot to learn from the full story of the passenger pigeon's extinction. If you come across additional articles marking the anniversary please share the links here.