The Lost Bird Project

A sculptor creates memorials to five extinct North American bird species.

The Lost Bird Project is part natural history, part artist’s diary, documenting the extraordinary effort to place a series of public memorials to birds driven to extinction in modern times. As a chronicle of humankind’s impact on our changing world and a moving record of dwindling biodiversity, The Lost Bird Project is an ode to vanished times and vanished species. The Great Auk, Labrador Duck, Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, and Heath Hen were birds that once filled unique niches in the North American landscape from the shores of Labrador and New York to the Midwestern plains. Across the great American prairie, the skies were nearly black with Passenger Pigeons whose disappearance, like the buffalo’s, was thought to be inconceivable.

As works of site-specific environmental art, the sculptures featured in The Lost Bird Project were placed in the locations where the birds were last seen in the wild and are now permanent public sculpture installations at a wide range of sites, from Newfoundland to Florida, Ohio to Martha’s Vineyard. Ten years in the making, The Lost Bird Project has been the subject of a feature-length documentary film that premiered in New York City in December 2012.