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This is a story of a scarcely credible abundance, of flocks of birds so vast they made the sky invisible. It is also a story of a collapse into extinction so startling as to provoke a mystery. In the fate of the North American passenger pigeon we can read much of the story of wild America--the astonishment that accompanied its discovery, the allure of its natural "productions" the ruthless exploitation of its "commodities" and the ultimate betrayal of its peculiar genius. And in the bird's fate can be read, too, the essential vulnerability of species, the unpredictable passage of life itself.
About the Author
John Wilson Foster was born and educated in Belfast, received a PhD from the University of Oregon, and spent his teaching and research career at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. He is currently an honorary research professor at Queen's University of Belfast. He has been an amateur ornithologist on both sides of the Atlantic for several decades and became intrigued by the extraordinary life and death of the passenger pigeon in 1990. Among Foster's books are Nature in Ireland: A Scientific and Cultural History and The Age of Titanic: Cross-currents in Anglo-American Culture.