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Bird Extinctions

Posted on Apr 24, 2015

It’s not every day that we do photo shoots with organisms that have been dead for any length of time; however, on occasion the preserved bird skins in the Peterson collection still get a bit of use even though some of the birds themselves have been dead for over a hundred years, and their species extinct for decades. Many of the bird skins that lay in their likely final resting spot here at RTPI were part of Roger Tory Peterson’s collection that he used for reference while painting each species for his field guides. Nowadays they still serve a purpose for researchers and others that are interested in learning more about the birds’ final years.

Carolina Parakeet. Photographed by Nick Gunner.

Carolina Parakeet. Photographed by Nick Gunner.

A few weeks ago our friend Nick Gunner came to photograph the extinct birds that are within the collection in order to tell each of their stories through his newly developed GIS-based platform called Orbitist. Through his incredible program, he mapped the last known sightings of the Bachman’s Warbler, Passanger Pigeon, Ivory-billed Woodpecker and Carolina Parakeet in the wild and included a wide range of info to describe their demise and quests to honor or recover them as well. Check out their stories through Nick’s newly created Orbitist story map below:

While the locations of the last sightings are spread throughout the eastern United States, there are many other species throughout the world that have a story to tell as well. We can learn so much from the species that have gone extinct and hopefully work towards preserving species rather than continuing to push them to the brink of extinction.

Elyse Henshaw
Conservation Technician