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This project was successfully funded on July 23, 2018

Extinct Birds Project Book

by Alberto Rey


The Extinct Birds Project started in 2015 and when I was deeply moved after seeing a drawer full of extinct birds. On the clean white paper that covers the drawer were the bodies of seven extinct birds and around a dozen other threatened species. I was transfixed by the skins.

A tremendous veil of sadness laced every one of the specimens and countless questions immediately ran through my mind: How did these get here? How did they get the birds? I guess I’m glad they were collected, so I could experience this. Should they have been collected if they went extinct? Where was these bird collected? What were their lives like? Who collected them and how? What were the collectors thinking when they collected them?  Have the bodies been gutted and filled with cotton? How do they do that? Why am I not as moved by the other birds in the other drawers?  

The Extinct Birds Project book will try to answer these questions and many others. The publication will accompany the touring exhibition of paintings that can be viewed at The book will be heavily illustrated with maps, photos, drawing and paintings that will personalize each species as well as the collector who collected each specimen. It has been written in an accessible manner that is appropriate for both adults and adolescent children.


The costs of the almost 200-page full-color publication will be around $32,000 and will be published in the United States. I will be putting in around $15,000-20,000 from the sale of the paintings that have already been sold and from my income from my fly fishing guide service. Collectors who have purchased the work will have their named listed next to the paintings they have purchased.  This opportunity will continue to be available until the book is sent to the publishers by early June. Another $5000 will come from exhibition fees and the remaining $8000, I hope will come from contributors to this Hatchfund project. The book and exhibition will premiere at the Roger Tory Institute of Natural History on August 17, 2018, at 7 pm.


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