Martha: Last of the Passenger Pigeons
by John Herald
September 1, 1914: Martha, the last of the Passenger Pigeions died in her enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. She was named Martha in honor of Martha Washington. Not much consolation in that.
February 21, 1918: The last known Carolina Parakeet was a male named Incas, and he died on this day at the Cincinnati Zoo. Twenty years later, after no wild specimens were found, the bird was officially declared extinct. Bright green with an orange and yellow head, it was one of the most colorful birds living in the eastern United States. It had a range that stretched from the Gulf of Mexico to Ontario.
Early in 1932: The last heath hen spent a few lonely, solitary years on Martha's Vineyard. According to Deborah Dickson — whose film "Lost Birds" will screen tonight, June 2 (2011)— he could be observed perched on top of an oak tree futilely emitting the breed's famous mating call, which had earned him the name "Booming Ben." Ben was last sighted in 1932 and his demise signaled the extinction of a species that once flourished from Maine to Virginia