7 Extinct Bird Species That Shouldn’t Be Forgotten

How many of these extinct bird species have you heard of?

1. Passenger pigeons have been extinct for more than 100 years. At one time, huge flocks of these birds darkened the sky as they moved around eastern North America.

2. Only six dusky seaside sparrows, all male, were left in 1979. Pollution, pesticides and loss of marsh habitat caused the extinction of the species.

3. Great auks were hunted for their meat, feathers, and eggs, leading to their extinction in the 1800s. Today, stuffed specimens of this bird are rare; only about 80 exist in museum collections around the world.

4. Heath hens vanished in 1932. A subspecies of today’s greater prairie-chicken, they were last seen at a reserve on Martha’s Vineyard.

5. Only one parrot species was native to the U.S.: the Carolina parakeet. Once abundant in North America, farmers killed off large numbers of these birds, contributing to their official extinction in 1939.

6. The great toothed diver (Hesperornis regalis) lived more than 83 million years ago. Flightless, it used its hind legs and lobed toes to swim, similar to grebes. It was about 5 feet long!

7. The ivory-billed woodpecker was the third-largest woodpecker in the world. It was believed to have gone extinct at least 50 years ago, but brief sightings were reported from Arkansas’ Big Woods in 2004 and 2005.