Barry Kent MacKayArt by Barry Kent MacKay
Art and Photo Presentation

In this section are copies of original works of art. All of them are dedicated to helping us live according to unconditional love and compassion, which is the foundation of our peaceful means of bringing true and lasting peace to all of God's creatures, whether they are human beings or other animals.

Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius)

Barry MacKay passenger pigeon
(Artwork - 098)
Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius)

This painting is my second of this extinct species. This is to give the editors of a book on the birds of Nunavut a choice between two paintings of the bird done with a “generic” background (the other showed the bird in flight) that would fit Nunavut, where the species was known to have occurred just once. It certainly was not a species of the northern, boreal forests or arctic and subarctic tundra, but given that is was a species that was once hugely abundant, with some single flocks occurring in the millions, the odd stray bird must have shown up far from where most members of the species occur, on rare occasions.   
 Anyway, I have simply done a vignette, placing the bird, a beautiful male, on a rock.

The last Passenger Pigeon known for sure to have survived was a zoo captive, who died in 1914, but reports of the odd one continued to come in after that. They were killed in the millions and used for things like fertilizer, hog food and human consumption, with the fat squabs sometimes killed for their oil, but it is thought that an additional reason for their demise might have been a dependence on large, uncut tracts of forest for nesting and feeding. So habitat loss may have been a factor in their extermination. It is also thought that large numbers were needed to provide the stimulation required for successful breeding. The painting is approximately life size and was done in acrylics on compressed hardboard.

I plan to do one more painting of this species, showing several birds in what was their natural habitat. Again, full acknowledgement for the help provided, as always, by the Royal Ontario Museum.

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Copyright © Barry Kent MacKay
Barry describes himself as a Canadian artist/writer/naturalist.
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