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Thursday September 18th, 2014

Posted at 10:00am

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The story of the passenger pigeon is unlike that of any other bird. With an estimated population between 3 and 5 billion, it was once the most abundant bird in North America and possibly the world. Despite their extraordinary numbers, this species became extinct in just a few short decades – from billions to none.

One hundred years ago, on September 1, 1914, the last of the species died in captivity, marking the extinction of this unique bird. The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA), with support from the TD Friends of the Environment Fund, has developed a traveling exhibit to draw awareness to this anniversary and to promote the conservation of species and habitat, to strengthen the relationship between people and nature, and to foster sustainability.

This evening at 6:30pm, ERCA will host An Evening with Joel Greenberg, author of A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction. This book has been called “a parable for our time” by Dr. David Suzuki. Mr. Greenberg is a leader in Project Passenger Pigeon, working diligently to commemorate the anniversary of the species. “We are so pleased to have Mr. Greenberg available to visit our area during September 2014 – the actual anniversary month of the extinction,” said Danielle Breault-Stuebing, Director of Community Outreach Services. “As he is traveling North America presenting lectures, launching his new passenger pigeon movie and appearing at other events throughout 2014, this will be Mr. Greenberg’s only visit to the Essex Region. We are delighted to have him spread the message of conservation.”

Mr. Greenberg’s talk ‘Echoes of Their Wings’ will highlight the life and legacy of the Passenger Pigeon, and relate it to modern day conservation efforts. Mr. Greenberg’s book will be available for purchase at the event. There will also be an opportunity for book signing by the author. A delicious selection of hors d’oeuvres will be served at the event, as well as a complimentary glass of wine for guests of age, and a cash wine bar. A limited number of tickets at just $40 per person are available but must be purchased in advance at www.joelgreenbergevening.eventbrite.ca.

This special evening is part of HawkFest 2014.The Holiday Beach HawkFest is hosted annually in partnership with the Holiday Beach Migration Observatory. Visit the park on September 13/14 and 20/21 to witness the migration spectacle. Experts on the tower help to identify raptors as they migrate. See live birds of prey up close and get a chance to adopt a raptor as they are released back into the wild. The event promises great activities for families, novice birders and experts alike. Holiday Beach was named by Audubon Magazine as the third best site in North America for raptor viewing.

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