All are welcome to the Noel J. Cutright Bird Club meeting this Tuesday, June 3rd at 7:00 pm for a special presentation by Stan Temple, Senior Fellow and Science Adviser with the Aldo Leopold Foundation.
His talk marks the centennial of the extinction of the passenger pigeon in 1914. Temple uses the case of the passenger pigeon to call attention to the world’s ongoing extinction crisis and our relationship with other species.
In 1914, the last surviving Passenger Pigeon died in a Cincinnati Zoo, ending a calamitous half-century in 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.
In 1947, the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology erected the Passenger Pigeon Monument at Wyalusing State Park, and for the occasion Aldo Leopold penned one of the most poignant essays ever written about extinction, “On a Monument to the Pigeon,” which later appeared in his classic book A Sand County Almanac. The society rededicated the monument during its 75th annual convention on May 17, 2014.
For more than 30 years, Temple was the Beers-Bascom Professor in Conservation in the Department of Wildlife Ecology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, a position originally held by Aldo Leopold himself. After earning three degrees from Cornell University, Temple worked with endangered species on islands in the Indian Ocean and then returned to Cornell to lead the peregrine falcon reintroduction program.