Extinct Bird Sculptures Land on Galveston Island
The Lost Bird Project by Todd McGrain
Unveils New Eskimo Curlew Memorial
A six-foot permanent memorial sculpture of the Eskimo Curlew and a special exhibit of five extinct birds, all part of The Lost Bird Project by artist Todd McGrain, will be unveiled on March 29 on Galveston Island.
The six-foot-tall bronze Eskimo Curlew, an elegant shorebird, will be installed in Galveston Island State Park, and five large bronzes, representative of the other permanent Lost Bird Project sculptures located throughout North America, will be shown in the gardens of The Bryan Museum. Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council, Houston Audubon, and The Bryan Museum have partnered to bring these elements of The Lost Bird Project to the island.
Each Lost Bird Project memorial is permanently installed near the last sighting of the bird. The last fully documented North American sighting of the Eskimo Curlew was in west Galveston in 1962, according to the Texas Bird Records Committee of the Texas Ornithological Society.
Other permanent sculptures of the Lost Bird Project are the Great Auk in Newfoundland, the Passenger Pigeon in Ohio, the Labrador Duck in New York, the Carolina Parakeet in Florida, and the Heath Hen in Martha’s Vineyard.
“Forgetting that these birds ever existed is another kind of extinction,” McGrain said. “It takes real work to preserve habitat, raise awareness and mitigate the factors that adversely affect bird populations.”
Original bronzes of each sculpture will be on view in The Bryan Museum gardens from March 29 through September 13. There is no charge to view the exhibit and learn about these once-thriving birds. The thought-provoking memorial links art with natural history and highlights humans’ impact on biodiversity.
The Lost Bird Project has been exhibited at 14 museums across the country, including the Smithsonian. It is the subject of a feature length documentary.
The Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council (GalvestonNatureTourism.org) connects people with Galveston’s natural environment. Houston Audubon (HoustonAudubon.org) is a conservation, education and advocacy organization that focuses on protecting the natural environment for birds and people. The Bryan Museum (TheBryanMuseum.org) features original art, artifacts, and touch screen displays—revealing the epic story of Texas and the American West.
For more information about The Lost Bird Project, click here to read Forgetting is Easy from the Galveston Daily News Coast magazine.