Monday, September 1st will mark the 100 year anniversary of the death of Martha, the last of her species, the Passenger Pigeon. With her death our planet lost another species forever to extinction. This week we'd like to share some of the commemorative events and educational opportunities that are taking place to mark this important centenary.

Among other goals, Project Passenger Pigeon (PPP) was created with the aim to "familiarize as many people as possible with the history of the passenger pigeon and its extinction; raise awareness of how the issue of extinction is ecologically, culturally, and morally relevant to the 21st Century; encourage and support respectful relationships with other species; motivate people to take actions to prevent human-caused extinction, and to promote biodiversity through habitat preservation and restoration, captive breeding programs, government initiatives, and other measures."

Project Passenger Pigeon

There are a lot of educational resources and activity ideas available on the site. In order to reach as many people as possible, PPP has listed several different ideas for getting everyone involved. These include lesson plans for elementary and high school students; a shareable Powerpoint presentation; theatrical plays; a symphonic composition; and more. If you are looking for an easy activity for younger children, consider downloading our free Birdorable Passenger Pigeon coloring page.

Birdorable Passenger Pigeon Coloring Page

Monday, September 1st will mark the 100 year anniversary of the death of Martha, the last of her species, the Passenger Pigeon. With her death our planet lost another species forever to extinction. This week we'd like to share some of the commemorative events and educational opportunities that are taking place to mark this important centenary.

A new documentary about Passenger Pigeons was created to coincide with this anniversary. From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction follows the amazing demise of what was probably the most abundant bird species on earth. It also notes the threats facing species today and what we can do to avoid the human-driven loss of more species. Here is a long trailer for the documentary created for its fund-raising campaign.

From Billions To None is now complete and recently had its world premiere screening in Chicago. Soon the documentary will air on PBS channels across the United States. The program is scheduled to air tonight on WNPT in Nashville, and later this month on public broadcasting stations in Indianapolis, Kentucky, and Chicago. A partial list of airings can be found here; follow the From Billions to None on Facebook to learn of more airings and/or check your local listings.

Today our 2013 Birdorable Bonanza concludes as we reveal our 500th species: the Passenger Pigeon.

Billions of Passenger Pigeons

You probably know that the Passenger Pigeon is extinct. But did you know that there used to be up to 5 billion Passenger Pigeons living in North America, making it possibly the most abundant bird species on earth? Flocks, so thick with pigeons that they would darken the sky, would take hours to pass by. How did we lose this species? How did we go from billions to none?

Passenger Pigeon nest
Passenger Pigeon nest display at Chicago's Field Museum (photo by blogger)

The answer is complicated, but two major factors contributed to the demise of the Passenger Pigeon. First, habitat loss was devastating. The birds used huge swathes of woodland to nest and feed, and their preferred trees were taken in huge numbers for both logging and human development. Hunting to satisfy a taste for pigeon was the other major factor. The development of commercial train routes and explosive (human) population growth in eastern North America resulted in a huge trade of pigeon meat. Passenger Pigeons were slaughtered on a mass scale in the Midwest and then transported by rail to cities like New York and Boston for food. This brief account is an extremely simplified version of the complicated story of the loss of the Passenger Pigeon. Project Passenger Pigeon aims to educate people about the Passenger Pigeon and about extinction. 2014 is the 100 year anniversary of the death of Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon. Please visit Project Passenger Pigeon on the web to learn more.


This concludes our huge 2013 Birdorable Bonanza! We now offer a whopping 500 different cute cartoon birds, each available on a wide range of products. Thanks for following along!

Today we proudly reveal the latest new bird in our Birdorable Bonanza 2012: the Victoria Crowned Pigeon.

Queen Victoria with Victoria Crowned Pigeon

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is the world's largest species of pigeon. They are easily recognized by their unique and beautiful wispy crests of head feathers. These big beauties were named in honor of the longest reigning British monarch (so far) - Queen Victoria.

Victoria Crowned Pigeon
Victoria Crowned Pigeon by Tambako the Jaguar

They live in Papua New Guinea, where they prefer a woodland-type habitat. Victoria Crowned Pigeons mate for life, and usually raise just one chick per year. Like many other pigeon species, they breed easily in captivity, and are commonly found in zoos and aviary exhibits.

Birdorable Victoria Crowned Pigeon t-shirts and gifts

Tomorrow's bird is just a little thing, named after a flower. Can you guess what it will be?

Birdorable Bonanza Preview

Birdorable 200: Dodo

Cute Birdorable Dodo

We present you the 200th Birdorable bird: the Dodo. We often get requests for new birds to make and the Dodo has been one of the most requested ones. The Dodo was a large flightless bird in the Columbidae family, related to pigeons and doves. It was found on the island of Mauritius and has been extinct since the mid-to-late 17th century. It is something of an icon of extinction as it occurred in modern times. Our Birdorable Dodo is based on reconstructions of the bird that can be found in museums around the world. We usually show a real photo of the bird here, but with this extinct bird we could find only drawings like this one:

That concludes our Birdorable Bonanza. For the last 17 days we've been adding a new Birdorable bird to the site every day. The sale ends Friday night, so you still have a chance to get some of our cute Birdorable products at 20% to 50% off:

- Organic Baby T-Shirts$21.50 to $17.20
- Organic Kids T-Shirts - $25 $20
- Bibs - $12.50 to $6.25
- Organic Men's Fitted T-Shirts - $30 to $21
- Organic Women's Fitted Tees - $30 to $21
- Oval Ornaments - $12.50 to $6.25
- Round Ornaments - $12.50 to $6.25
- Round Magnets - $5 to $3
- Rectangle Magnets - $6 to $3.50
- Tote Bags - $24.50 to $14.70
- Mousepads - $15 to $12
- Wall Clocks - 25 to $12.50
- Regular Mugs - $17 to $11.90
- Large Mugs - $18 to $12.60
- Steins - $20 to $14
- Ceremic Travel Mugs - $25 to $20
- Tile Coasters - $8 to $4.80

The Remarkable Range of the Eurasian Collared Dove: A Global Traveller

Birdorable Collared Dove

The Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) exemplifies adaptability and expansion. Originally native to parts of Asia, this species has undergone a remarkable range expansion over the last century, making it a familiar sight across much of Europe, the Middle East, and North America. This dove’s ability to thrive in a wide range of habitats has facilitated its success in colonizing new areas, making its range one of the most expansive among dove species.

The Eurasian Collared Dove's journey began in the Indian subcontinent, from where it spread across to the Balkans in the early 20th century. Its colonization of Europe was rapid and widespread, occurring mainly during the latter half of the 20th century. By the 1950s and 1960s, the dove had established itself in the United Kingdom and many parts of Northern Europe.

The Eurasian Collared Dove's appearance in North America is a more recent phenomenon, first noted in the 1980s. It is believed that the species arrived in the Bahamas in the 1970s, possibly from accidental or deliberate releases. From there, it spread to Florida and subsequently across much of the United States and parts of Canada. Its proliferation across the continent has been swift, showcasing the bird’s remarkable ability to adapt to new environments.

One of the key factors behind the Eurasian Collared Dove's successful range expansion is its versatility in habitat preference. This species can thrive in a variety of settings, from rural farmlands and open country to suburban and urban areas. It is often found around human habitation, taking advantage of feeding opportunities in gardens, parks, and yards. This adaptability has been crucial in allowing the dove to integrate into existing ecosystems without the need for specialized habitat requirements.

Photo of a Eurasian Collared Dove

Today, the Eurasian Collared Dove's range covers a vast area, including:

  • Much of Europe, extending into Scandinavia and eastward into Russia.
  • The Middle East, encompassing countries such as Turkey and Iran.
  • Parts of Asia, particularly the Indian subcontinent where it is native.
  • A significant portion of North America, from the southern regions of Canada through the United States and into Mexico.

Despite its widespread presence, the Eurasian Collared Dove continues to expand its range, especially in North America, where its population numbers are still growing. Its success story highlights the impact of species adaptability on range expansion, as well as the unintended consequences of human activities on wildlife distribution.

The Eurasian Collared Dove serves as an interesting case study in rapid range expansion and adaptability. Its presence across diverse geographical locations underscores the dynamic nature of avian distribution patterns and the continuous evolution of ecosystems under the influence of both natural and anthropogenic factors.

Birdorable Collared Dove Gifts

Happy Pi Day

Today is Pi Day. Not the sweet and delicious kind, but π as in the mathematical number "3.1415926...", hence it is celebrated on March 14th, or 3/14 on the American calendar. The first Pi Day was held at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1988 with people marching around in circles and eating fruit pies. It is a fun holiday for mathematicians and it also happens to be Albert Einstein's birthday. Here are two Birdorable Pi designs for this occasion: