Range. - Formerly the whole of the North Atlantic coasts. Now extinct.

These great auks formerly dwelt in large numbers on the islands of the North Atlantic, but-owing to their lack of the powers of flight and the destructiveness of mankind, the living bird has disappeared from the face of the earth. Although they were about thirty inches in length, their wings were even smaller than those of the Razor-billed Auk, a bird only eighteen inches in length. Although breeding off the coast of Newfoundland, they appeared winters as far south as Virginia, performing their migration by swimming alone. The last bird appears to have been taken in 1844, and Funk Island, off the coast of Newfoundland, marks the place of their disappearance from our shores. There are about seventy known specimens of the bird preserved, and about the same number of eggs. The immediate cause of the extinction of these birds was their destruction for food by fishermen and immigrants, and later for the use of their feathers commercially. The single egg that they laid was about 5.00 x 3 inches, the ground color was buffy white, and the shpots brownish and blackish. The markings varied in endless pattern as do those of the smaller Auk. There are but two real eggs (plaster casts in imitation of the Auks eggs are to be found in many collections) in collections in this country, one in the Academy of Natural Science, Philadelphia, and the other in the National Museum, at Washington. Through the kindness of Mr. Witmer Stone, of the Academy of Natural Science, we are enabled to sohw a full-sized reproduction from a photograph of the egg in their collection.

Great Auk Dovekie

Great Auk Dovekie.

33 Great Auk Plautus Impennis 6533 Great Auk Plautus Impennis 66EGG OF THE GREAT AUK


Photographed from the specimen in the Academy of Natural Science, Philadelphia; not more than ten or twelve of these eggs are in this country; the one figured is one of the best marked specimens.

33 Great Auk Plautus Impennis 68