Tuesday, 16 September 2014

In Memory of Martha

I mentioned the other day that last week saw the 100th anniversary of the death of Martha, marking the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon.  All the research I've been doing into extinct birds for the Ghosts of Gone Birds live studio has certainly got me thinking about just how precarious life is for some of the birds that live or migrate through the UK, and how much we take some of our species for granted.  Mark Avery's book, "A Message from Martha: The Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon and its Relevance Today" arrived on my doorstep this morning to further this research (although I'm not planning to resurrect Martha myself).  I've only read the first few pages so far but it promises to be an excellent and thought-provoking read.
Back to Martha and her kind - hunted to extinction as "pests" - how do you feel about our own ubiquitous feral pigeon?  Cousin of Martha and much-maligned, how many town and city dwellers despise this bird?  So in the name of a little practice, and with the aim of taking a look at some of the finer points of a feral pigeon I got stitching...
Intrinsically linked into the urban landscape, this bird may not be anyone's favourite, but it is a species to be appreciated, if not cherished.  Next time you see one take a closer look at that beautiful purple-green sheen and think of the poor Passenger Pigeon, who never got the chance to become a "pest" to the commuters of New York as they ascended from the subway.
Kate x

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