The Lost Bird Project is part natural history, part artist's diary, documenting the extraordinary effort to place a series of public memorials to birds driven to extinction in modern times. As a chronicle of humankind's impact on our changing world and a moving record of dwindling biodiversity, The Lost Bird Project is an ode to vanished times and vanished species. The Great Auk, Labrador Duck, Passenger Pigeon, Carolina Parakeet, and Heath Hen once populated North America from the shores of Labrador and New York to the midwestern plains. Across the continent the skies were once nearly black with Passenger Pigeons whose disappearance, like the buffalo's, was thought to be inconceivable.
As works of site-specific environmental art, the sculptures featured in The Lost Bird Project were placed in the location where the bird was last seen in the wild and are now permanent public sculpture installations at a wide range of sites, from Newfoundland to Florida, Ohio to Martha's Vineyard. Ten years in the making, The Lost Bird Project has been the subject of a feature-length documentary film that premiered in New York City in December 2011.
"The Lost Bird Project is a moving tribute to species that have been lost through human action or indifference. With more and more birds going the way of the Great Auk, it should serve not just as a memorial, but as a goad to action."
– Elizabeth Kolbert, author of Field Notes from a Catastrophe
"The Lost Bird Project is a wonderfully original, moving, and educational work of tribute to extinct species of birds that once populated the American wilderness. Its sculptures, and their placements, are unique. What a grand idea!"
– Richard Rhodes, author of John James Audubon: The Making of an American
- The Great Auk
- The Labrador Duck
- The Passenger Pigeon
- The Carolina Parakeet
- The Heath Hen
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Todd McGrain has been a sculptor for thirty years, the past ten of which he has dedicated to The Lost Bird Project. He is the artist in residence at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.