Monday, July 2, 2012

Is the Eskimo Curlew extinct?

Hand-colored lithograph from A History of the Birds of Europe (1871-1881) by Henry Eeles Dresser (1838-1915)

This is a cautionary tale and urgent reminder that we cannot delay actions to save remaining species.  At one time, the Eskimo Curlew may have been one of the most numerous shorebirds in North America with a population in the millions. As many as 2 million birds per year were killed near the end of the 19th century. The last confirmed sightings were in 1962 on Galveston Island, Texas and on Barbados in 1963.  Additional sightings have been reported as recently as 2006. Unfortunately, these sightings were not documented with photographs. Are Eskimo curlews extinct? No one really knows.  We can only hope that they are somehow surviving. 

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