A partnership between Smithsonian Gardens and Smithsonian Institution Libraries.
The Lost Bird Project, an outdoor exhibit by artist Todd McGrain, featured five large-scale bronze sculptures of extinct North American birds. Four sculptures were located in the Enid A. Haupt Garden parterre and the final sculpture, the Passenger Pigeon, was installed in the Urban Bird Habitat Garden at the National Museum of Natural History as a companion piece to the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ exhibit Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America opening from June 24, 2014 – October 2015.
The Lost Bird Project recognizes the tragedy of modern extinction by immortalizing North American birds that have been driven to extinction. These sculptures compel us to recognize the finality of our loss. They ask us not to forget, and they remind us of our duty to prevent further extinction. Extinction of animals, plants, and other organisms caused by human actions can often be credited to habitat destruction resulting from deforestation and pollution. In addition, excessive hunting and fishing, the introduction of non-native species, and the transmission of diseases are also contributing factors.