Joel Greenberg is the author of “A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction”. Joel stops by to talk about the factors that lead to the demise of Passenger Pigeons. Without a doubt, there are many lessons to be gleaned from this remarkable recount of a bird species, which went from possibly the most abundant bird on earth in the 1800’s to none in 1912 when Martha the last of her species died in 1912. These questions will give you an opportunity to share the story of the Passenger Pigeon and hopefully you will fill in bits that are important, but not specifically mentioned.
- What drove you to the subject Passenger Pigeon and human-caused extinctions?
- How did the book “A Feathered River Across the Sky come to be?
- What were the obstacles that needed to be tamed to locate primary research material on the subject? b. What were the most productive avenues of research, and what elements proved frustrating?
- You draw on account from the likes of John James Audubon and Alexander Wilson to describe the activities of the Passenger Pigeon. In an account by Alexander Wilson, he estimated that one flock he saw contained 2 billion, 230 million, 272 hundred thousand birds. Following in later years you draw on the accounts of Simon Pokagon, certainly less well known today than the early naturalists. Tell us in broad sweeps what they saw, and as important, what we have lost.
- What is known of the biology of the species? b. such as what did they eat, where did they nest, why did they fly in immense flocks? Can you give a summary of there life cycle?
- What were the most important factors that lead to the demise of Passenger Pigeons?
- Please fill us in on the scope of the market for Pigeons.
- Tell us about what is known about the final decades of the Passenger Pigeon. There were many forces in play, agriculture, railroads, telegraph, the seemingly limitless supply of birds was dwindling. How did these years play out, what is known about the last sightings of major flocks and then the last sightings of the final survivors?
- What conservation observations were made at the time and what steps if any were taken to protect the species?
- As a chronicle of a major extinction, how did the research and writing process affect you?
- What wisdom would you hope the listener would come away after hearing the story?
- Since final manuscript, have you turned up anything interesting that would have made the book had you know about it?
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