Earth’s Treasure Chest
Wildlife Mural Mosaic

Dakin, Charity



Artist website:
Panel before
Artist Comments: Men still live who, in their youth remember pigeons; trees still live that, in their youth, were shaken by a living wind. But a few decades hence only the oldest oaks will remember, and at long last only the hills will know." - Aldo Leopold, 1947
The passenger pigeon was the most numerous species of birds ever to exist on earth. It was estimated that at the time of its discovery, 40 % of the entire bird population consisted of passenger pigeons. Because they formed large flocks, sometimes consisting of as many as 2 billion birds, they were an easy target for hunting and a source of cheap meat. Within 50 years the population was decimated. In 1896 just outside Bowling Green, Ohio, the last 250,000 or so came together in one last nesting flock on the Green River. The call went out to hunters who arrived by railway and soon after 240,000 birds were slaughtered while 100,000 newborn chicks were left to die. Maybe 5000 escaped. All usable carcasses were loaded onto boxcars to be sent east, but the train derailed and the rotting carcasses of 200,000 birds were dumped into a deep ravine nearby. The last passenger pigeon to be seen alive was mistakenly shot by a young boy on March 24, 1900. Fourteen years later, "Martha" a 29 year old captive bird died in her cage. She was the last of her kind.
If there is any creature that puts into perspective the power of mankind to destroy, it is this one.