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Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America

Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America

June 24, 2014 – October 2015 (new closing date)

Museum: Natural History Museum

Sponsor: Smithsonian Libraries

Location: Ground Floor, Evans Gallery

An amazing diversity of birds—some in breathtaking abundance—once inhabited the vast forests and plains of North America. But starting around 1600, species began to disappear, as humans altered habitats, over-hunted, and introduced predators. A notable extinction occurred 100 years ago, with the death of Martha the passenger pigeon, the last member of a species that once filled America’s skies. Specimens and illustrations of passenger pigeons (including Martha), heath hens, the great auk, and the Carolina parakeet reveal the fragile connections between species and their environment. 

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