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Richardson Lecture Series: From Billions to None

Date: Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Time: 7:00 pm

Location: Richardson Auditorium,
Morse-Ingersoll Hall

Contact: Dan Bartlett,

Environment, Extinction, and History – The 2014 Richardson Lecture Series

The lecture series is supported by the Richardson Lecture Fund, named in honor of former History Professor Robert “Dickie” Richardson, and the Mellon Foundation Labs Across the Curriculum grant.

From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction

With filmmaker David Mrazek

This new documentary reveals the compelling story of the unlikely extinction of the passenger pigeon and explores the pigeon’s striking relevance to conservation issues today. For centuries, the sleek long-distance flyer was the most abundant bird in North America and perhaps the world. It was hunted to extinction in a matter of decades. On September 1, 1914, Martha, the last passenger pigeon in captivity, died in the Cincinnati Zoo, marking the end of the species.

From Billions to None recreates the breathtaking natural phenomenon of massive flocks of passenger pigeons with cutting edge CGI animation. A key animated sequence recreates a passenger pigeon flock estimated to be at least one billion birds by a then unknown John James Audubon. In 1813, while traveling in Kentucky, Audubon wrote, “The air was literally filled with pigeons. The light of the noonday was obscured as by an eclipse. The pigeons passed in undiminished number, and continued to do so for three days.”


David Mrazek is a producer and writer of numerous prime-time national PBS series, including programs for POV and The American Experience. He directed and co-wrote Keepers of the Biosphere, about the role of microbes in the global ecosystem and program three of the four-part PBS series, Intimate Strangers: Unseen Life on Earth.

A complete listing of the Passenger Pigeon events can be viewed here.


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