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This title in other editions

A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction

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A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When Europeans arrived in North America, 25 to 40 percent of the continents birds were passenger pigeons, traveling in flocks so massive as to block out the sun for hours or even days. The downbeats of their wings would chill the air beneath and create a thundering roar that would drown out all other sound. John James Audubon, impressed by their speed and agility, said a lone passenger pigeon streaking through the forest “passes like a thought.” How prophetic—for although a billion pigeons crossed the skies 80 miles from Toronto in May of 1860, little more than fifty years later passenger pigeons were extinct. The last of the species, Martha, died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914.

As naturalist Joel Greenberg relates in gripping detail, the pigeons propensity to nest, roost, and fly together in vast numbers made them vulnerable to unremitting market and recreational hunting. The spread of railroads and telegraph lines created national demand that allowed the birds to be pursued relentlessly. Passenger pigeons inspired awe in the likes of Audubon, Henry David Thoreau, James Fenimore Cooper, and others, but no serious effort was made to protect the species until it was too late. Greenbergs beautifully written story of the passenger pigeon paints a vivid picture of the passenger pigeons place in literature, art, and the hearts and minds of those who witnessed this epic bird, while providing a cautionary tale of what happens when species and natural resources are not harvested sustainably.

Review:

"September 1, 2014, will mark 100 years since Martha, a lone passenger pigeon living in the Cincinnati Zoo, died. To the best of our knowledge she was the last member of her species. Naturalist Greenberg, a research associate at the Field Museum and the Chicago Academy of Sciences Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, effectively demonstrates that the extinction of passenger pigeons was a shocking event not simply because the species once enjoyed a population 'that may have exceeded that of every other bird on earth, and its aggregations surpassed in numbers those of every other terrestrial vertebrate on the continent,' but also because its demise was so swift, with the population crashing from upwards of a billion to zero in about 40 years. Greenberg pulls together a wealth of material from myriad sources to describe the life and death of this species, describing the majesty of millions flying overhead for hours as well as the horror of tens of thousands of birds being slaughtered while they nested . He also examines the larger lessons to be learned from such an ecological catastrophe — brought on by commercial exploitation and deforestations, among other causes — in this 'planet's sixth great episode of mass extinctions.' Greenberg has crafted a story that is both ennobling and fascinating." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

The epic story of why passenger pigeons became extinct and what that says about our current relationship with the natural world.

About the Author

Joel Greenberg is a research associate of the the Field Museum and the Chicago Academy of Sciences Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. The author of three books, including A Natural History of the Chicago Region, Greenberg helped spearhead Project Passenger Pigeon to focus attention on human-caused extinctions. He lives in Westmont, Illinois. Visit his blog at Birdzilla.com.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781620405345
Author:
Greenberg, Joel
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20140131
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 x 16 page color insert. BandW illustra
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » World History » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » General
Science and Mathematics » Biology » Zoology » General
Science and Mathematics » Geology » Rocks and Minerals
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Birds » Birdwatching
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Birds » General
Science and Mathematics » Ornithology » General Ornithology and Birding

A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction New Hardcover
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Product details 304 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781620405345 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "September 1, 2014, will mark 100 years since Martha, a lone passenger pigeon living in the Cincinnati Zoo, died. To the best of our knowledge she was the last member of her species. Naturalist Greenberg, a research associate at the Field Museum and the Chicago Academy of Sciences Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, effectively demonstrates that the extinction of passenger pigeons was a shocking event not simply because the species once enjoyed a population 'that may have exceeded that of every other bird on earth, and its aggregations surpassed in numbers those of every other terrestrial vertebrate on the continent,' but also because its demise was so swift, with the population crashing from upwards of a billion to zero in about 40 years. Greenberg pulls together a wealth of material from myriad sources to describe the life and death of this species, describing the majesty of millions flying overhead for hours as well as the horror of tens of thousands of birds being slaughtered while they nested . He also examines the larger lessons to be learned from such an ecological catastrophe — brought on by commercial exploitation and deforestations, among other causes — in this 'planet's sixth great episode of mass extinctions.' Greenberg has crafted a story that is both ennobling and fascinating." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , The epic story of why passenger pigeons became extinct and what that says about our current relationship with the natural world.
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