Flight to Extinction

Currently on display in the Zoology Museum we have a beautiful Passenger Pigeon, donated to the Museum in 2008. September 2014 is an important month, as it marks the extraordinary and somewhat unbelievable centenary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon. Once, the Passenger Pigeon of North America was the world’s most abundant bird, with a population of around 3.5 billion, but as a result of heavy exploitation and habitat loss the population took a massive hit in the late 19th century, from which the species never recovered.

This mounted taxidermy of an extinct Passenger Pigeon, currently on display, was donated to the Zoology Museum in 2008.

This mounted taxidermy of an extinct Passenger Pigeon, currently on display, was donated to the Zoology Museum in 2008.

The display in the Zoology Museum explores the causes for this sudden extinction and it, as curatorial assistant, and curator of the display, Melia Knecht states ‘raises awareness of the Passenger Pigeon extinction event and the continued threat of extinction to species worldwide.’ Melia was helped in the curation of the display by student volunteer Jennifer Wakefield, who can be seen installing it below.

Student volunteer Jennifer Wakefield gives the Passenger Pigeon 'Flight to Extinction' display one last polish

Student volunteer Jennifer Wakefield gives the Passenger Pigeon ‘Flight to Extinction’ display one last polish

The display fits into a wider project to mark the centenary of the Passenger Pigeon extinction; more information about this project can be found here.

The Aberdeen Branch of the RSPB group are holding a lecture by Mark Avery on the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon in the Zoology Building on 14th October, more information can be found here.

If you would like to see the Passenger Pigeon Flight to Extinction display it will be on show in the Zoology Museum until the end of October. The Zoology Museum is open to the public Monday – Friday, 9am -5pm. For more information on the display, please e-mail kingsmuseum@abdn.ac.uk or call 01224 274330.

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About uoamuseums

The University of Aberdeen's Museums include King’s Museum and the University's Zoology Museum. The museums can claim to be Scotland's oldest, with records of museums and collections as far back as the late 17th century. Thanks to their status as a Recognised Collection of national significance, the Zoology Museum’s displays are currently being improved, while King's Museum hosts changing exhibitions drawn from across the collections, particularly those formerly in Marischal Museum. Visitors are warmly welcomed to the museums, and there are no charges for admission. Marischal College now houses the Museums Collections Centre, caring for and conserving many of the collections.
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