WN@TL: The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon. Aug. 20, 7–8:15 pm, UW Biotechnology Ctr, 425 Henry Mall, Rm. 1111
In 1914, the last surviving passenger pigeon died in a Cincinnati zoo, ending a calamitous half-century during which the pigeon declined from billions to one and then to none as a result of uncontrolled market hunting and the resulting disruption of nesting colonies. The loss of one of the world’s most abundant birds stands as the iconic extinction event in our country’s history. The 2014 centennial of this tragedy offers a very “teachable moment” about the world’s ongoing extinction crisis and our relationship with other species. Nationally and in Wisconsin, events are being planned by various groups to observe the centenary, including Stan Temple’s talk at Wednesday Nite @ the Lab this week.
Wisconsin is a focal point because of our state’s history of involvement with the pigeon. Accounts by early Wisconsin naturalists such as John Muir describe flocks darkening Wisconsin’s sky. In 1871, the largest nesting ever recorded occurred in central Wisconsin. Read more.