The Visitor Center at Shaver's Creek will be closed from December 20, 2021, through January 26, 2022.

The Lost Bird Project

The Lost Bird Project, conceived by artist Todd McGrain, recognizes the tragedy of modern extinction by immortalizing five North American birds in sculpture. The first of these species went extinct in 1844, and all five disappeared by 1932. These statues serve not only as dramatic reminders of the biodiversity lost due to human activity, but of our duty to prevent further extinction.

As the presenting sponsor, Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center has brought the Lost Bird Project to central Pennsylvania. On August 24, 2021, the five sculptures arrived at Shaver’s Creek and our four partner sites — The Arboretum at Penn State, the Hintz Family Alumni Center, the Penn State Altoona Reflecting Pond, and Millbrook Marsh Nature Center — where they will remain for one year.

We invite you to reflect on the fates of these lost species by visiting each statue and participating in public programming. The Lost Bird Project is an ode to vanished species, vanished times, and trailblazing conservationists who fought against species extinction under urgent circumstances. As Rosalie Edge instructed, “The time to protect a species is while it’s still common.”

Visit the Lost Birds

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Great Auk

Sculpture of the Great Auk

Penn State Altoona Reflecting Pond
3000 Ivyside Park
Altoona, PA 16601

The Great Auk was a large flightless seabird found in the North Atlantic Ocean. Like penguins in the Southern Hemisphere, they had small wings and were unable to fly. Instead, they used their paddle-like wings to “fly” underwater in pursuit of fish. Great Auks nested in large colonies on islands in the North Atlantic. The large concentrations of flightless birds made them vulnerable to overexploitation by people. They were taken for food, fat, bait, feathers, and museum and private collections. In 1830, a volcanic eruption off the coast of Iceland destroyed the last large colony.

LAST SEEN: The last documented pair of Great Auks was killed on Eldey Island, off the coast of Iceland, in 1844.

Labrador Duck

Sculpture of the Labrador Duck

Hintz Family Alumni Center
University Park, PA 16802

Very little is known about this sea duck, which has the dubious honor of being the first known endemic (restricted to) North American bird to go extinct. It wintered along the Northeast coast and fed on shellfish, crustaceans, and small fish. Its genus name Camptorhynchus means “flexible beak” and likely describes an adaptation used for feeding. Because of its supposedly unappetizing flavor, the duck was not sought after by hunters. The reasons for the species’ extinction remain unclear, but its reliance on shallow-water mollusks, which were themselves greatly diminished by the growth of industry on the Eastern Seaboard, was likely decisive.

LAST SEEN: The last known specimen was collected in 1875 off Long Island, NY.

Passenger Pigeon

Sculpture of the Passenger Pigeon

Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
3400 Discovery Road
Petersburg, PA 16669

Once considered the most abundant bird on earth, the Passenger Pigeon was a bird of the eastern deciduous forest, where it fed on chestnuts, acorns, beechnuts, and the soft fruits of trees and shrubs. It formed massive flocks that were said to have darkened the sky when they passed, and they nested in colonies of hundreds of thousands of pairs. The clearing of the eastern deciduous forest, as well as market hunting, took the species from billions to none.

LAST SEEN: The last recorded wild Passenger Pigeon was shot in Ohio in 1900. The last captive Passenger Pigeon, Martha, died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914.

Carolina Parakeet

Sculpture of the Carolina Parakeet

The Arboretum at Penn State
E. Park Avenue & Bigler Road
State College, PA 16803

A flash of yellow and emerald green, the Carolina Parakeet was called “puzzi la née” (head of yellow) by the Seminole tribe. The birds traveled in flocks, foraging on nuts, seeds, and fruit in old-growth bottomland forests along waterways, including in southern Pennsylvania. As forests were cleared and land was developed, they fed on orchards and agricultural fields and were shot for crop damage. Their decline mirrored the disappearing forests, and eventually persecution, disease, and collection for fashion and museum specimens led to their extinction.

LAST SEEN: The last known bird died in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1918.

Heath Hen

Sculpture of the Heath Hen

Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
548 Puddintown Road
State College, PA 16801

The Heath Hen was the prairie chicken of the East. It was originally found from Maine to Virginia and associated with coastal scrub-oak, blueberry barrens, and sandy grasslands. It was a popular food item, and numbers initially declined as a result of market hunting, which was banned in 1750. Numbers continued to decline primarily as a result of habitat loss, and by 1870, there was only one population of Heath Hens left — on Martha’s Vineyard. A fire in 1916 decimated this population.

LAST SEEN: The last known Heath Hen was a male named “Booming Ben,” last seen on Martha’s Vineyard (off Cape Cod, Massachusetts) in 1932.

Participate in the Lost Bird Project

The arrival of the Lost Bird sculptures marked the beginning of a region-wide effort to encourage the practice of conservation. Attend special programs and visit artistic and educational installations that showcase the value of birds and their power to connect people to the natural world.

Public Programs:

Community Nature Journaling

When: January 29, 2022
Where: Forest Resources Building
Join Shaver’s Creek staff Alexa Sarussi for a free, in-person, and socially distanced morning of nature journaling. This month's Community Nature Journaling focus will be… a visit to the PSU Bird Specimen Collection! Preserved specimens provide us with a unique...

The Lost Bird Project Presentation

When: February 6, 2022
Where: Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Join Jason Beale, Lost Bird Project Coordinator at Shaver's Creek, to learn about the birds, the history of the project, and empowering examples of conservation success to ensure there are no more "Lost Birds." Registration begins 12/27/2021.

Valentines for the Birds

When: February 12, 2022
Where: Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Profess your love and appreciation for our local birds by creating edible valentines to get them through the last leg of winter. Each registration includes supplies to make two treats. The program will be held in indoors. Children under 10 must be accompanied by an adult. Registration begins 12/27/2021.

Lost and Found: Ecological Mourning and Making Amends

When: February 12, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Join special guests Joshua Trey Barnett, Talley V. Kayser, and Ian Marshall as they present their work around the topic of ecological mourning, followed by an opportunity to engage in a discussion about our ecological state as it is right...

Superb Owl Celebration

When: February 12, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
What a hoot — back by popular demand is our Superb Owl Celebration! Volunteers Rodney Brubaker and Carolyn Muse will offer an indoor slide show, discussing owl habitats, prey choices, hunting strategies, nighttime adaptations, and their presence in popular culture. Then,...

Movie Screening: the Lost Bird Project

When: March 2, 2022
Where: Thomas Building
Gone and nearly forgotten in extinction, the Labrador Duck, the Great Auk, the Heath Hen, the Carolina Parakeet, and the Passenger Pigeon leave holes not just in the North American landscape but in our collective memories.

Golden Eagle Walk

When: March 5, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Join us on a nature walk, learn why Golden Eagles migrate up-close, and get involved at the Tussey Mountain Hawk Watch. 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in March.

Golden Eagle Walk

When: March 6, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Join us on a nature walk, learn why Golden Eagles migrate up-close, and get involved at the Tussey Mountain Hawk Watch. 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in March.

Golden Eagle Walk

When: March 12, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Join us on a nature walk, learn why Golden Eagles migrate up-close, and get involved at the Tussey Mountain Hawk Watch. 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in March.

History of the Hen

When: March 12, 2022
Where: Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Have you heard the story of Booming Ben? Last of his kind, the heath hen of Martha's Vineyard has a lot to teach us. Join Millbrook Marsh to discuss the history of the heath hen extinction and learn how we can prevent further species loss. Registration begins 12/27/2021.

Golden Eagle Walk

When: March 13, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Join us on a nature walk, learn why Golden Eagles migrate up-close, and get involved at the Tussey Mountain Hawk Watch. 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in March.

Golden Eagle Walk

When: March 19, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Join us on a nature walk, learn why Golden Eagles migrate up-close, and get involved at the Tussey Mountain Hawk Watch. 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in March.

Waterfowl Migration

When: March 19, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Join Jon Kauffman as he shares identifying characteristics of certain waterfowl species and helpful tips — including when and where to observe them. Participants will have the opportunity to walk nearby trails bordering Lake Perez to scan open water for any spring...

Birds and Bagels

When: March 20, 2022
Where: Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Join State College Bird Club for an enjoyable morning of birds and bagels! Meet in the Barn for a light breakfast and a brief introduction to the basics of bird watching. End your morning with a short walk along the trails to practice your skills. Registration begins 12/27/2021.

Golden Eagle Walk

When: March 20, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Join us on a nature walk, learn why Golden Eagles migrate up-close, and get involved at the Tussey Mountain Hawk Watch. 11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays in March.

Bird Walks with The State College Bird Club

When: March 22, 2022
Where: Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Start your day off right by observing birds that are migrating to and through the Centre Region. Led by members of the State College Bird Club, this program is open to all ages and is great for beginners. Physical distancing is encouraged. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars. In the case of heavy rain, the walk that morning will be canceled. A suggested donation of $5 per participant is appreciated. Registration not required. For more information about the State College Bird Club visit www.scbirdcl.org

Bird Walks with The State College Bird Club

When: March 29, 2022
Where: Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Start your day off right by observing birds that are migrating to and through the Centre Region. Led by members of the State College Bird Club, this program is open to all ages and is great for beginners. Physical distancing is encouraged. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars. In the case of heavy rain, the walk that morning will be canceled. A suggested donation of $5 per participant is appreciated. Registration not required. For more information about the State College Bird Club visit www.scbirdcl.org

Bird Walks with The State College Bird Club

When: April 5, 2022
Where: Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Start your day off right by observing birds that are migrating to and through the Centre Region. Led by members of the State College Bird Club, this program is open to all ages and is great for beginners. Physical distancing is encouraged. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars. In the case of heavy rain, the walk that morning will be canceled. A suggested donation of $5 per participant is appreciated. Registration not required. For more information about the State College Bird Club visit www.scbirdcl.org

Migration Morning

When: April 6, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Migration Morning Bird Walks are open to birders of all experience levels.

Bird Walks with The State College Bird Club

When: April 12, 2022
Where: Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Start your day off right by observing birds that are migrating to and through the Centre Region. Led by members of the State College Bird Club, this program is open to all ages and is great for beginners. Physical distancing is encouraged. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars. In the case of heavy rain, the walk that morning will be canceled. A suggested donation of $5 per participant is appreciated. Registration not required. For more information about the State College Bird Club visit www.scbirdcl.org

Migration Morning

When: April 13, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Migration Morning Bird Walks are open to birders of all experience levels.

Bird Walks with The State College Bird Club

When: April 19, 2022
Where: Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Start your day off right by observing birds that are migrating to and through the Centre Region. Led by members of the State College Bird Club, this program is open to all ages and is great for beginners. Physical distancing is encouraged. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars. In the case of heavy rain, the walk that morning will be canceled. A suggested donation of $5 per participant is appreciated. Registration not required. For more information about the State College Bird Club visit www.scbirdcl.org

Migration Morning

When: April 20, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Migration Morning Bird Walks are open to birders of all experience levels.

Bird Walks with The State College Bird Club

When: April 26, 2022
Where: Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
Start your day off right by observing birds that are migrating to and through the Centre Region. Led by members of the State College Bird Club, this program is open to all ages and is great for beginners. Physical distancing is encouraged. Please dress for the weather and bring binoculars. In the case of heavy rain, the walk that morning will be canceled. A suggested donation of $5 per participant is appreciated. Registration not required. For more information about the State College Bird Club visit www.scbirdcl.org

Migration Morning

When: April 27, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Migration Morning Bird Walks are open to birders of all experience levels.

Migration Morning

When: May 4, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Migration Morning Bird Walks are open to birders of all experience levels.

Migration Morning

When: May 11, 2022
Where: Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center
Migration Morning Bird Walks are open to birders of all experience levels.

Exhibitions:

The Lost Bird Project and Why Biodiversity Matters 

Through January 26, 2022 | Exhibition Cases at HUB-Robeson Center

Why Biodiversity Matters includes avian research and educational materials from Shaver’s Creek Environmental Center and Penn State’s Wildlife and Fisheries program. For more information, visit the HUB’s Current Exhibitions.