University of Pittsburgh
November 12, 2014

Pitt to Host Audubon Day Nov. 21

Event includes lecture on the extinct passenger pigeon, display of original Audubon prints

Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

High resolution image(s) available >

PITTSBURGH—One hundred years ago, the last surviving passenger pigeon died while in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoological Gardens. As the world commemorates the extinction of what was once the most abundant bird in North America, the history of the passenger pigeon will be examined at the University of Pittsburgh's Annual Audubon Day from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Nov. 21 in Room 363 of Hillman Library, 3960 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

ThePassenger Pigeon public is invited to view a free display of more than 24 prints of vivid life-sized paintings of many North American birds from John James Audubon's Birds of America, including an 1824 print of the passenger pigeon—believed to be the only bird Audubon painted in Pittsburgh. Pitt's Library System owns one of the rare unbroken sets of these famous prints.

From 10 to 11 a.m. in the Amy E. Knapp Room on Hillman Library's ground floor, Chris Kubiak, development coordinator of the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania, will discuss the history of the passenger pigeon and its complex interactions with humans. The passenger pigeon once numbered in the billions. Kubiak will examine the causes and consequences behind its extinction as well as the controversial effort to revive the species through cloning.

Most people are familiar with the work of John James Audubon because they have seen his paintings of birds in publications or on greeting cards or calendars. With his four-volume set of bird illustrations, Birds of America (1827-1838), Audubon revolutionized bird illustration by depicting birds as life sized in their natural environment, many of them interacting with other birds and wildlife, often in predatory ways.

In 2006, the University Library System and its Digital Research Library embarked on an ambitious project to digitize Pitt’s Darlington Memorial Library, including all 435 Birds of America plates, which opened access of the colorful prints to the world. Visit to view the complete collection online. 

For more information about Pitt's Annual Audubon Day, call 412-648-8199.



Passenger Pigeon

Great Blue Heron