Lost Footage of Extinct Bird Found

Once common in America, the prairie chicken called the Heath hen went extinct in 1932. Until recently, there was no hope of seeing the bird in motion again. But a 1918 film was found, in bad condition, a few years ago and has now been restored for viewing. Wayne Petersen of Mass Audubon calls it “the birding equivalent of an Elvis sighting.”

“I had heard about this film through various channels off and on through the years. It had gotten to the point where it was almost apocryphal in my mind” said Petersen, director of the Massachusetts Important Bird Areas program for Mass Audubon. “Nobody knew where it was, nobody had ever seen it, but I was aware it existed. It was like the holy grail.”

The 40-minute film was shown publicly for the first time at the Mass Audubon Birders Meeting last weekend. A two minute clip is available online at The Boston Globe, along with the story of the Heath hen and how it went extinct. -via Metafilter

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