News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood

 

Fold The Flock: A Weekend of Remembering the Passenger Pigeon this Labor Day

August 19th, 2014 by master

The Burke marks the 100-year anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger pigeon, once the most populous bird in North America, on Sept. 1. with Fold the Flock.

Join the Burke in folding origami passenger pigeons this Labor Day Weekend. Image courtesy of the Lost Bird Project.

Fold the Flock Flies on Saturday, Aug. 30 – Monday, Sept. 1, 10 AM – 5 PM Included with museum admission; FREE for Burke members or with UW ID

Meet Martha, the last survivor of the species who passed away in the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1, 1914. To commemorate this anniversary, the Burke Museum will offer a special suite of activities during Labor Day Weekend, Saturday, August 30 – Monday, September 1, in partnership with the Lost Bird Project.

Visitors can participate in a world-wide initiative called “Fold the Flock” by making origami Passenger pigeons. Fold the Flock aims to symbolically recreate the astounding size of former Passenger pigeon flocks by facilitating the creation of one million paper birds. Birds folded at the museum throughout the weekend will be displayed and the final total will be registered on the Fold the Flock website.

In a rare viewing opportunity, the Burke will display its Passenger pigeon specimen, one of the 1,532 specimens left on earth.

A one-hour, award-winning documentary, The “Lost Bird Project” will be shown Saturday, Sunday, and Monday at 11 a.m.

Visitors will also be invited to reflect on the history of this once abundant species, and share their own thoughts about species or places they want to protect.

Those who want to participate from home can download a template here and record their contribution at foldtheflock.org.

Participants are encouraged to share photos of their creations on social media: #burkeflock #foldtheflock.

The Passenger Pigeons Story

At the time of European arrival in America, Passenger pigeons accounted for up to forty percent of the land birds of North America, and probably represented the largest population of a species of bird the earth has ever known.  They flew in vast flocks, numbering in the billions, sometimes eclipsing the sun from noon until nightfall. Flying sixty miles an hour, they migrated across their geographic range, which stretched from the northeastern and mid-western states and into Canada to the southern states. The sound from the flapping of billions of wings was deafening.

In the 19th Century, as American’s urban population grew and the demand for wild meat increased, thousands of men became full-time pigeon hunters. In addition to being hunted for food and sport, habitat loss was an important factor in the extinction of the Passenger pigeon.  As the population spread rapidly across the country, the bird’s habitat, low-lying areas of nut and beech trees, was converted into farmland.

In the span of fifty years, the Passenger pigeon became nearly extinct. On March 24, 1900, a boy in Pike County, Ohio shot the last recorded wild Passenger pigeon. In 1914, under the watchful eyes of her keepers, the last captive Passenger pigeon, Martha, died in her cage at the Cincinnati Zoo.

About the Lost Bird Project

The Lost Bird Project recognizes the tragedy of modern extinction by immortalizing North American birds that have been driven to extinction.  Artist Todd McGrain has created bronze memorial sculpture dedicated to the Passenger pigeon, the Carolina parakeet, the Labrador duck, the great auk, and the Heath hen. These sculptures are placed at locations directly related to each bird’s decline.

In response to this centennial anniversary of the Passenger pigeon’s extinction, the Lost Bird Project created Fold the Flock—The Passenger pigeon Origami Project. The Fold the Flock initiative is based on the belief that origami is a perfect activity to engage creatively with and celebrate the history of the Passenger pigeon. No individual alone could symbolically recreate the vast flocks of Passenger pigeons that once flew over this continent. The scale and scope of Fold the Flock requires a large number of people of all ages to succeed.  It is an endeavor that asks parents, teachers, friends and family, young and old to gather together, think about our natural heritage, and assist each other in learning to fold an origami Passenger pigeon.

→ No CommentsTags: , , , , , ,