August 12, 2014

Program will examine life, legacy of passenger pigeons

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill.  -- A program recognizing the death of the world’s last passenger pigeon 100 years ago and examining the reasons the birds became extinct is coming to Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  

“The Echo of Their Wings:  The Life and Legacy of the Passenger Pigeon” is set for Tuesday, Aug. 19, in the Student Center Auditorium. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. with a performance by local environmentalist music duo Carter and Connelley.  At 7 p.m., Joel Greenberg, author and naturalist, will present his program. Greenberg is the author of “A Feathered River Across the Sky:  The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction.” 

“Martha,” the last known passenger pigeon, died in the Cincinnati Zoo on Sept. 1, 1914.  Greenberg will tell how the passenger pigeons, once the most common bird on earth with a population in the billions, became extinct over the course of a few decades after being killed in large numbers for food and recreation.  

The presentation is free and open to the public.  Greenburg will have a book signing after the program.  

The SIU Sustainability Office and Shawnee Audubon Chapter are the event sponsors.