Final Flight

The Portland Audubon Society’s Lost Bird Project spotlights extinct birds

June 7, 2010

The recent heartbreaking images of brown pelicans struggling for survival in the Gulf lend tremendous gravity to an upcoming art exhibition by the Portland Audubon Society.

On June 26, the group will publically dedicate The Lost Bird Project, an installation of bronze bird sculptures along the Waterfront. Created by sculptor and Cornell art professor, Todd McGrain, the metal cast statues weigh between 400 and 700 pounds and represent species of birds that are now extinct. The birds include the Passenger Pigeon, Heath Hen, Great Auk, Labrador Duck, and a former resident of the Gulf Coast’s coastal plains, the Carolina Parakeet.

Lucky for us there are no spewing oil wells off of our beloved coast, but the Audubon Society is quick to point out this is no time to pat ourselves on the back: Nearly 25 percent of bird species in Oregon are suffering long-term declines in population, while another 11 percent are considered, “critically imperiled” or likely to become critically imperiled in the near future.


In order to keep spreading the word, the Audubon Society will also host a fundraising party on June 24 at Lucier where you can get a sneak peek of the birds and meet the artist who created them. (Check out a short video about the project here.) The birds will remain on display through December.

And if you can’t get those searing images of the Gulf out of your head, here are four worthwhile organizations doing some good in the region that could use your help:

The International Bird Research Rescue Center is working with Tri-State Bird Rescue, the main local group on the ground helping to clean birds in the area.

The Audubon Society has opened a volunteer coordination center in Moss Point, Mississippi to help organize and mobilize some 13,000 volunteers who pledged to help with the clean-up mission.

You can also simply text WILDLIFE to 20222 and $10 will be sent to the National Wildlife Federation which is endeavoring to set up a volunteer network to monitor the Gulf Coast for wildlife impacts.

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