Eskimo Curlew

The Eskimo curlew, a bird famous for its marathon migrations between northwest Canada and Argentina, was once known to stop over on the Texas coast as late as the mid-1960s. It was eventually driven to extinction due to market hunting and because of the decline of the Rocky Mountain grasshopper, a key food source that was lost to farm development in the Great Plains.


Narrator: Victor EmanuelTitle: Flying with Golden PloversDuration: 00:01:41Date: April 11, 2020Victor Emanuel, a birder, guide, and the founder of Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, describes a very rare sight: the (likely) extinct Eskimo curlew flying with golden plovers, its one-time migration compatriot. It is a reminder of how the loss of a species diminishes a whole community of creatures.Narrator: Victor EmanuelTitle: Time PastDuration: 00:02:54Date: April 11, 2020Victor Emanuel, a naturalist and ecotourism guide, explains his feelings at witnessing one of the last Eskimo curlews 60 years ago, as "something from way time past." He tells of how he was reminded of the bird's eons-long history of breeding, feeding, and migrating, and its history in the human scale and world, contending with hunting and farming impacts.Narrator: Ben FeltnerTitle: Oh my God!Duration: 00:03:01Date: October 16, 2020Ben Feltner is an accomplished birder and nature guide. He founded two ecotourism firms (Merlin Birding Tours, and Peregrine Birding Tours), and established several Audubon bird counts, including ones in El Naranjo, Catemaco, and Teziutlan in Mexico. Here he describes his 1959 visit to west Galveston Island, where he rediscovered the extremely rare, possibly now-extinct, Eskimo curlew.Narrator: Ben FeltnerTitle: Market HuntingDuration: 00:01:19Date: October 16, 2020Ben Feltner is a skilled birder and nature guide. He is particularly celebrated for rediscovering the Eskimo curlew on Galveston Island in 1959. It was an extremely rare bird then, and is likely extinct now. Here he discusses how aggressive market hunting of this once-common bird put the species on a decline starting over a century ago.Narrator: Todd McGrainTitle: Lost Bird ProjectDuration: 00:03:16Date: September 23, 2020Mr. McGrain is based in Portland, Oregon, where he works as an artist, active in sculpture, painting, drawing, photography and film. He is particularly interested in raising awareness about man's impact on the world and our fellow creatures, and so he founded the Lost Bird Project. The Project sponsors sculptures that recognize extinct birds, including, in Texas, the Eskimo curlew. Here he describes the process of making a sculpture - running through the many decisions about shape, gesture, scale, and finish that help evoke a sense of memory and loss.Narrator: Rose Ann RowlettTitle: A Vanished HarmonyDuration: 00:05:34Date: November 16, 2020Ms. Rowlett is a birder and nature guide who has led over 300 trips through several leading ecotourism firms, including Field Guides, Victor Emanuel Nature Tours, and Questers. Here she describes seeing the extremely rare, possibly extinct, Eskimo curlew in 1962, on Galveston Island. The sighting reminded her of the poignant book, The Last of the Curlews, by Fred Bodsworth, as well as a moving passage about extinction by William Beebe.