At 1 pm on September 1st, 1914 Martha, a passenger pigeon died at the Cincinnati Zoo. She was the last passenger pigeon, and her death marked the extinction of her species.

Martha, the last passenger pigeon, 1914

Martha, the last passenger pigeon, 1914

Lyrics to “Martha (Last of the Passenger Pigeons)”

Click here to listen to an MP3 version of this song.

Oh high above the trees and the reeds like rainbows
they landed soft as moonglow
in greens and reds they fluttered past the windows
ah but nobody cared or saw

til the hungry came in crowds
with their guns and dozers
and soon the peace was over
God what were they thinking of?

Oh on and on til dreams come true
you know a piece of us all goes with you

Oh the birds went down
they fell and they faded to the dozens
Til in a Cincinnati Zoo was the last one

Yes all that remained was the last
with a name of Martha
Very proud, very sad, but very wise

Oh as the lines filed by there were few who cared
or could be bothered
how could anyone have treated you harder
and it was all for a dollar or more

Oh on and on til dreams come true
you know a piece of us all goes with you

Oh and surrounded there by some of whom wept around her
in a corner of the cage they found her
she went as soft as she came so shy til the last song
oh the passenger pigeon was gone…


On Friday evening, September 5, join Plimoth Plantation for a Night of Food & Film as we mark this centenary year of the passenger pigeon’s extinction with the screening of the dramatic film From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction. Explore this iconic bird’s presence in 17th-century Plymouth, its current relevance to habitat and species conservation successes, and sustainable use of natural resources.

Stay for a post-film discussion with the film’s co-writer and co-producer Joel Greenberg and a panel of bird conservation leaders and historians. Before the film, enjoy a reception of seasonal artisan culinary delights inspired by the Passenger Pigeon, locally sourced beer and wines, and a special signature drink. Copies of Joel Greenberg’s book, A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction, will be available for purchase and signing.

Tickets are $30 per person or $50 per couple and can be purchased in advance by calling (508)746-1622, ext. 8346 or online at

About The Film:

From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction is a dramatic film that is the keystone of the ambitious multi-media project that uses the passenger pigeon story, of a billions-to-zero extermination in less than 50 years, to explore important present day issues. The centenary of this recent extinction offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for this film to sharply focus new attention on habitat conservation and species survival—and help all species avoid the fate of the passenger pigeon.

About the Moderator:

Wayne Petersenis Mass Audubon’s Director of the Massachusetts Important Bird Areas (IBA) program. He has led trips and tours, lectured, and conducted birding workshops across North America for over thirty-five years. Wayne was a founding member of the Massachusetts Avian Records Committee and serves on the advisory committee for the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program. His writing projects include authoring the National Audubon Society’s Pocket Guide to Songbirdsand Familiar Backyard Birds (East), coauthoring Birds of Massachusetts and Birds of New England, co-editing the Massachusetts Breeding Bird Atlas, and contributing to The Audubon Society Master Guide to Birding, The Sibley Guide to Bird Life & Behavior, and Arctic Wings.


Joel Greenberg has over 25 years of experience working on natural resource related issues in the Midwest. He is currently a Research Associate of both the Chicago Academy of Sciences’ Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Field Museum. Joel has authored four books including Of Prairie, Woods, and Waters: Two Centuries of Chicago Nature Writing; A Natural History of the Chicago Region; and his most recent work A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction. He has been a leader in Project Passenger Pigeon, and co-produced the documentary, From Billions to None: The Passenger Pigeon’s Flight to Extinction.

Robert Charlebois is an interpreter in the Wampanoag Homesite at Plimoth Plantation. He serves in a consulting role for the Museum’s Reference Library, in addition to his duties at the Artisan Craft Center constructing Porcupine Hair Headdresses, which he has been making most of his life.  A former teacher, he has worked at both public schools and at First Nation schools in both the U.S. and Canada. He is a member of the Abenaki Nation, Painted Turtle Clan.

John Galuzzo is Director of Education for the South Shore YMCA’s South Shore Natural Science Center and the author of 35 books on the history and nature of the South Shore of Boston. He is a nationally-known Coast Guard historian, a regular columnist for South Shore Living magazine, and a longtime contributor to the Hull Times, for which he has written a weekly column for more than a decade. John is a frequent lecturer and holds a weekly radio spot on 95.9 WATD FM, through which he encourages people to explore the history and nature of the South Shore.

John Kricher, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biology at Wheaton College, Norton, Massachusetts. Dr. Kricher teaches courses in ecology, ornithology, and vertebrate evolution. His most recent book is Tropical Ecology, now the leading textbook on the subject of global tropical ecology. He has also authored The Balance of Nature: Ecology’s Enduring Myth  and Galapagos: A Natural History. Other books include the best-selling A Neotropical Companion, and three North American ecology field guides in the Peterson series. John is a Fellow in the American Ornithologists Union, has served as president of the Association of Field Ornithologists, and president of the Wilson Ornithological Society.

Kathleen Wall is the Colonial Foodways Culinarian at Plimoth Plantation. Kathleen has been cooking, gardening, and baking as a 17th century housewife in the museum’s English Village  since 1980. Kathleen’s writings about colonial foodways can be found on her blog Pilgrim Seasonings, Notes and Recipes from a 17th Century Kitchen. Through workshops like Hard Core Hearth Cooking and lectures such as Pioneer to Pilgrims, she inspires today’s cooking with unbelievable recipes and techniques from the past.


Have questions about A Plimoth Cinema Event – From Billions to None: Remembering the Passenger Pigeon? Contact Plimoth Plantation


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