As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Eskimo curlew, a lost bird, deserves to be remembered

Gary Clark March 19, 2020

A 6-foot bronze sculpture of the Eskimo curlew, which is likely extinct, will stand at Galveston Island State Park as part of the “Lost Bird Project.”

While the ceremony unveiling the sculpture was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the sculpture goes on display March 28.

I’m glad the memory of a magnificent migratory shorebird once numbering hundreds of thousands will not be forgotten. As sculptor Todd McGrain said, “Forgetting that these birds ever existed is another kind of extinction.”

Up until at least the mid-19th century, enormous flocks of Eskimo curlews migrated through Texas every spring. They blanketed coastal prairies as they stopped to rest and feed.

People may not have paid much attention to Eskimo curlews. Who would care about a horde of crow-sized brownish birds with down-curved beaks foraging in coastal prairies?

The spring migratory route of Eskimo curlews took them through the eastern half of Texas to Midwest’s tallgrass prairies where they again stopped to rest and feed. They then went to breeding grounds in the Alaskan and Canadian Arctic.

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