Thursday, May 1, 2014

Rededicating a Monument to the Loss of a Species

On May 11, 1947 the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology established a monument to the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon. The monument was dedicated by none other than author and environmental philosopher Aldo Leopold, the first wildlife biology professor at the University of Wisconsin 

The monument resides in Wyalusing State Park at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers in Grant County just south of Prairie du Chien. For the 100th anniversary of the extinction (the last bird, a female, died in the Cincinnati Zoo in September 1914) the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology has redesigned the monument and will be re-dedicating it on Saturday May 17th 2014

The original monument to the pigeon was immortalized in Aldo Leopold's essay “A Monument to a Pigeon” that was published in "A Sand County Almanac."  (That's an Eastern Wood-Pewee singing in the background at the start of the video).

I'm headed back home to Wisconsin for the rededication ceremony for this most somber occasion. The photo at the top of this post shows the design and wording on the new monument


  1. Saw a TED Talk on "De-extinction" and screw the mammoth but several teams genetic are piecing the Passenger Pigeon's genome back together and are within a few years of starting the process that will bring them back from oblivion. Yeah, it's not a done deal yet but...