[Tweeters] Re: .....on de-extinction and Passenger Pigeons

Hal Michael ucd880 at comcast.net
Wed Apr 10 07:25:06 PDT 2013

To some extent we see this question all the time in resource management.  I have seen opposition to salmon recovery because the risk of dogs getting salmon poisoning significantly increases.  Look at the fight over wolf recovery.  How about all the urban and suburban bears, coyotes, deer, 'possum , geese, and raccoons ?  Restore a swamp or wetland and get more mosquitoes ?  The list goes on.


Personally, any chance to replace missing parts in an ecosystem is a good thing but it will constrain what I can do. 

Hal Michael
Olympia WA
360-459-4005 (H)
360-791-7702 (C)
ucd880 at comcast.net

----- Original Message -----
From: Pterodroma @ aol .com
To: tweeters at u. washington . edu
Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 3:48:44 AM
Subject: [Tweeters] Re: .....on de-extinction and Passenger Pigeons

Since Bud's coincidental timely "TED" link did not work for me, try this one:
Stewart Brand: The dawn of de-extinction. Are you ready? | Video on TED.com  
TED home page:  TED: Ideas worth spreading  
A most timely posting if but not just by mere coincidence that I have been totally captivated and absorbed in reading the most recent "National Geographic" (April 2013) this week which delves into this very topic and theory of "de-extinction" and the very near reality of perhaps actually being able to revive relatively recently 'lost' species; the Passenger Pigeon (North America),  Thylacine (Australia), Woolly Mammoth (Siberia, creating a "Pleistocene Park"), and many more.

To cite one small bit from John James Audubon's eye witness account about the Passenger Pigeon: " The air was literally filled with Pigeons," .... "The light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse, the dung fell in spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow; and the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose".
The whole idea as fascinating in the mind's eye as it is, it also raises all sorts of interesting questions.  The good, the bad, the ugly?  Is it a good, realistic, or even practical idea?  21st Century North America as is the entire globe is a totally different place than it was back in the day of Leopold and Audubon.  Where's the habitat that might support a resurgence of millions or even billions of Passenger Pigeons like in days of yore.  If the Passenger Pigeon, or any extinct species for that matter, were revived, would it be in fact the absolute total real deal, right down to the very last atom, or just a very near "copy" of something genetically engineered?  Could the social structure which requires such huge unimaginable numbers be revived too?  If so, then what?  Reflect back to Yakima, WA, March 18, 1980, a brilliant energizing crystal clear start to a most promising very early Spring day, ...then out of the blue, black skies and poof!  Routine life was changed in an instant that lasted for days, weeks.  Only this time, likely not Yakima, but somewhere, could be anywhere in the East, you name it, Cincinnati, Washington, DC, the skies darken again, only this time instead of a 'snowstorm' of dry gritty ash, it's a 'snowstorm' of P-P-Poo.  It doesn't take long to imagine some of the ramifications; a traffic nightmare for one as one thinks about what typically happens every time it just simply rains (or snows) just around here.  No amount of salt is going to fix that mess Mr. Mayor.  In all reality, I doubt such a happy or horror nightmare scenario could ever be recreated simply because the realities of 21st Century North American landscape are impossibly unsuitable.
In my personal library, one of my most favorite books of all time which I've read and re-read and refer back to from time to time is "Hope is the Thing with Feathers" ( 'A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds' ) by Christopher Cokinos (2000).  This mesmerizing read features six of the most charismatic species that we're all familiar with, and in this books pages, at least for awhile, fills the mind in vivid and eloquent detail a world that once was not so long ago.
Richard Rowlett
Bellevue ( Eastgate ), WA


> In a message dated 4/09/2013, Bud Anderson writes:

Subject:  [Tweeters] Birding Reality Show vs the recent TED lecture on de-extinction and Passenger Pigeons
From: Bud Anderson
Date: Tue, Apr 9, 2013, 2:41 PM

And if you haven't seen Stewart Brand's recent TED lecture in March on
re-genesis and the current efforts to bring back the Passenger Pigeon (who
knew that they were so far along?), I would recommend it as a salve for the

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