Empty Skies: the Passenger Pigeon Legacy | Level 2

August 2014 to April 2015
Gallery of Birds, Level 2

This exhibition is a thought-provoking exploration of the extinction of a species at the time of the ROM’s inception. The Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius), known as one of the most abundant species in the world in the 19th century, became extinct only 100 years later as a result of human actions. The last known Passenger Pigeon died on September 1, 1914 in captivity at the Cincinnati Zoo.  The ROM holds the world’s largest collection of Passenger Pigeons, which continues to be used for research today.

The Passenger Pigeon story creates discussion around conservation and the future of our planet, as other species teeter on the brink of extinction.

Empty Skies: Gallery Sneak Peek

Google Hangout: De-Extinction 

Join us Wednesday, September 24 at noon.  

Centennial Government Partners

OntarioOCAF: Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund


Mark  Peck

Ornithology Technician


Comment by Joanna Lilley

Please can you let me know how long the Passenger Pigeons exhibition will be on for once it opens on 30 August? I am a published poet and am writing what I hope will be a book of poems about extinct animals. I am therefore, of course, very keen to see this exhibition. I live in Whitehorse, Yukon, however, so need to do some planning so I can be in Toronto while it's on!
Many thanks
Joanna Lilley

Comment by david e parent

growing up in the 50s i caught the end of this "wonder of the world" it got play in older movies etc , it is very generous putting this great story out there

Comment by Janet McDonough

Dear Mr. Peck
I miss those pigeons. Please tell me what happened. When I saw them, they had no fear about the trains. They seemed to likme the crowds. I do not believe they are extinct. They are just changing.

Comment by Steven Mackenzie

Hello. I was quite interseted in your Empty Skies project about the passenger pigeon. My great grandfather is cited in Margaret Mitchell's 1935 publication. He made observations of a flock one square mile in size north of Kintail ( just north of Goderich). I would enjoy further corresponding with you to discuss the exhibit and these interesting birds.
Thank you
Steven Mackenzie

Comment by David Douglas

Until when is the passenger pigeon exhibition on at the ROM? I am just reading Mark Avery's book on Martha, and have become quite interested in the subject.