Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture

LC Logo The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon: Lessons from the Past for a Sustainable Future

Date: Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Start: 7:00 pm

Location: Great Hall, ISU Memorial Union, Ames, Iowa

Contact: Pat Miller, ISU Lectures, lectures@iastate.edu

Here ARE LINKS to podcasts of this lecture

PLEASE NOTE: The first two links are restricted to the ISU community at the request of the speaker.

This event will be presented by Stanley Temple, Senior Fellow and Science Advisor with the Aldo Leopold Foundation. His talk marks the centennial of the extinction of the passenger pigeon in 1914. Temple uses the case of the passenger pigeon to call attention to the world’s ongoing extinction crisis and our relationship with other species.

In 1914, the last surviving Passenger Pigeon died in a Cincinnati Zoo, ending a calamitous half-century in which the pigeon declined from billions to one and then to none as a result of uncontrolled market hunting and the resulting disruption of nesting colonies. The loss of one of the world’s most abundant birds stands as the iconic extinction event in our country’s history.

In 1947, the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology erected the Passenger Pigeon Monument at Wyalusing State Park, and for the occasion Aldo Leopold penned one of the most poignant essays ever written about extinction, "On a Monument to the Pigeon," which later appeared in his classic book A Sand County Almanac.

For more than 30 years, Temple was the Beers-Bascom Professor in Conservation in the Department of Wildlife Ecology at University of Wisconsin-Madison, a position originally held by Aldo Leopold himself. After earning three degrees from Cornell University, Temple worked with endangered species on islands in the Indian Ocean and then returned to Cornell to lead the peregrine falcon reintroduction program.

The Leopold Center is hosting this lecture.

Cosponsors: ISU Natural Resource & Ecology Management, the Graduate Program for Sustainable Agriculture, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and ISU Committee on Lectures, funded by the Government of the Student Body,

Related information

Leopold Letter article about this event

News release about this event

Event flier [PDF]

Project Passenger Pigeon has more information about this species.

A new documentary film, From Billions to None, will be released soon.

Read what Aldo Leopold wrote in 1947 about this extinction, "On a Monument to the Pigeon." You'll find it his collection of essays, A Sand County Almanac (Oxford University Press 1949).