The Great Auk: The Extinction of the Original Penguin

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Bunker Hill Publishing, Inc., 2003 - Nature - 48 pages
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Garefowls, Penguins of the North, Riesenalks, Apponaths, Great Auks -- all of these were names for a sea bird whose extinction was entirely the work of humankind. The birds' existence ended on the morning of the third day of June 1844, when the last two recorded great auks were killed by three fishermen on the island of Eldey, a few miles south of Iceland in the North Atlantic Ocean.

For thousands of years, until not so long before that fateful day, great auks swam the Atlantic in their millions and flocked to their breeding grounds from Newfoundland in the west, to Iceland and the Outer Hebrides in the east. Whole colonies at a time were hunted to death for their meat, feathers, and fat by sailors and fishermen from Europe and the Americas.

Since the total vanishing of the species, the great auk has become an icon of extinction, alongside the dodo, the passenger pigeon, and the moa. More highly prized as a trophy than any other extinct bird, all its attributes - from its eggs to the oral history of its demise -- were until fairly recently, voraciously collected.

Its protean appearance in almost every artistic and visual form, from cigarette boxes to bronze and marble statues, has immortalised one of the most tragic man-made extinctions.

The Great Auk: The Extinction of the Original Penguintells this tale of destruction and of what we, as a species, do to the world around us.

Errol Fuller is a world-renowned authority on extinct birds and the author of many books concerned with extinction and conservation.
  

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The great auk

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The great auk, or "penguin of the north," is nearly as well known in the annals of extinction as the dodo and passenger pigeon. A flightless bird, it lived in large colonies--a habit that was ... Read full review

Contents

The Great Auks Appearance
12
The Penguin and the Auk
14
The Home of the Great Auk
21
The Life of the Great Auk
22
The Living Bird
24
Extinction
30
The Witch of St Kilda
34
1844
36
Alfred Newton John Wolley and Symington Grieve
38
Stuffed Birds
42
Eggs
44
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Errol Fuller is a world-renowned authority on extinct birds and the author of many books concerned with extinction and conservation, including The Lost Birds of Paradise.

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