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The Lost Bird Project


Waterfront Park at SW Montgomery and SW River Dr.

through December 2010

The Lost Bird Project, a quintet of strikingly beautiful bronze bird sculptures, is about to alight in Portland. The public installation, created by artist Todd McGrain and presented by Portland Audubon, is a new foray into art that conveys the urgency of conservation: Each of the birds represents a species that has gone extinct.

The heavy metal cast sculptures, weighing 400–700 pounds and standing 5–7 feet tall, will be installed in the grass at the south end of Waterfront Park, where visitors can touch the pieces and make a connection with a time when people believed our wild birds could be taken for granted. They depict the Passenger Pigeon, Heath Hen, Carolina Parakeet, Great Auk, and Labrador Duck.

The Lost Bird Project is something of a departure from Portland Audubon’s regular schedule of active nature trips and education. The tall silent bronze representatives require no binoculars, hushed listening, or limber moves through the brush. They evoke the beauty of birds still common during John James Audubon’s time, and poignantly convey the finality of our loss.


We're presenting the exhibit as a call for an end to extinctions. Nearly 25% of bird species in Oregon are suffering long-term declines, while 11% are critically imperiled or likely to become critically imperiled in the near future. Loss of habitat, pesticide use, building strikes, predation by cats, invasive species, and even wind turbines take a toll on wild bird species, even as Portland Audubon supporters work to reverse the damage and save the future of wild birds.

Take the Lost Bird Challenge!

Give Life to Flight and help us raise $50,000 to protect birds and their habitats in Oregon!

Watch a video about Todd McGrain's Lost Bird Project:



The Lost Bird Project is made possible through a partnership with Portland Parks and Recreation and a grant from the Regional Arts and Culture Council, with generous support from Georgia Leupold Marshall.

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