"The passenger pigeon needs no
protection. Wonderfully prolific, having the vast forests of the North as its
breeding grounds, traveling hundreds of miles in search of food, it is here today and
elsewhere tomorrow, and no ordinary destruction can lessen them, or be missed from the
myriads that are yearly produced." Report of a select committee of the Ohio
Senate in 1857 on a bill proposed to protect Passenger Pigeons. One of the most
noted of extinct animals, passenger pigeons were reduced from numbers in the hundreds of
millions for food.
Carolina Parakeet, Chester A Reed
Once abundant the beautifully colored Carolina Parakeets nested in tree
hollows in large colonies in the cypress swamps in the South Atlantic and
Gulf States. They were hunted for their feathers and slaughtered as pests in
orchards. The Parakeets became rare by the 1880s. Incas, a Carolina Parakeet
in the Cincinnati Zoo died in 1918. The last reported sighting in the wild
was a small flock Florida in 1920. It was declared extinct by the American
Ornithologists Union in 1939.
Guadalupe Caracara, Alfred Edmund Brehm
As with many recently extinct animals,
this species was brought to extinction when collectors, including museums,
sought rare specimens after hunters reduced their numbers on the island of
Guadalupe, their only home.
The Heath Hen was established as
distinct from its relative, the Prairie Chicken in 1885. Correllus State Forest on
Martha's Vineyard was created in 1908 as a Heath Hen Reserve to prevent the bird's
extinction. The last Heath Hen was sighted in 1932 shortly after a grassland fire.
Cormorant, Pallas' Cormorant
Discovered in the Aleutian Islands by
George Steller while exploring with
Vitus Bering in 1741. The Spectacled Cormorant was extinct within
about a century.
Extinct Hawaiian Birds
Black Mamo Drepanis funerea, John Keulemans
Many Hawaiian birds have become extinct in little more than 200 years.
The Black Mamo was a curious bird that would approach people.
Hemignathus obscurus obscurus, John Keulemans
The Lesser Akialoa is named for its long, curved bill. It
had a loud call and foraged for insects in bark and moss.