A Remembrance Day for Lost Species collaboration with Ewan Davidson, November 30, 2020

In response to lostspeciesday.org – a chance each year to explore the stories of extinct and critically endangered species, cultures, lifeways, and ecological communities. An opportunity to make or renew commitments to all who remain, and to develop creative and practical solutions.

Inspired by Hagar Vardimon’s New York Times front cover 2019

Lost! – House Sparrow, passer domesticus, last seen in any significant numbers in 1977. (There were 372 counted in 1983, according to Valerie M Thom’s Birds in Scotland p324.

A recent study concluded that the number of sparrows in Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens [in Scotland] was falling because the birds were unable to hear their own songs through the thunder of traffic

John Burnside, The Environment in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring Ed Gary Wiener p56

We invited folk to join us in Princes Street Gardens to remember the House Sparrow on Lost Species Weekend 2020, Saturday 28 November, 12-2pm.

There was no need to book – you could have just come along.

We cut out sparrows from white dissolvable paper and put the cut-outs on the bushes, denoting absence and offering the chance to consider their loss.

Did you know that if you are a sparrow:

  • You like to be in communication with your extended family at all times
  • You are more comfortable if you are overhung or protected
  • You have your eyes on the side of your head, and you use your peripheral vision to look out for cats and sparrowhawk
  • You like hedges and bushes to roost in, and nooks and crannies for nesting
  • You have an irrational hatred of yellow flowers which you tear to pieces…. you probably ‘know’ why, but no human does
  • You eat seeds, mainly on the ground, and you prefer to hop around rather than fly if you can
  • You were formerly one of the commonest birds in the world, but your numbers have dramatically crashed in some places. In the UK, your numbers fell by 69% between 1977 and 2010
  • You are on the Red List of Conservation Species
  • The main threats to your life seem to be changes in agricultural practice, insecticides and pesticide residues, pollution in towns, changes in construction practices, and lack of invertebrate food for your young

Lost Species Day events were hosted on Facebook

Ewan Davidson is a blogger and self-identified psychogeographer. His recent wanderings have taken back into familiar territories, those of ecology, natural metaphors and causality, he first visited as a student thirty years ago. He is also really fond of lichens and birdwatching.

Michelle made a sparrow out of bird food which attracted this robin

Hagar Vardimon is known for her threads and paperworks and won an award for her New York Times cover, Inside was the piece, Should some species be allowed to die out?

2021 is the 10th anniversay of Remembrance Day for Lost Species and the theme is Interdependence. Events include: Onca Gallery’s various presentations and Borrowed Time’s.

Here is a link to Luke Jerram’s Extinction Bell at the Royal Museum of Scotland

2 thoughts on “Lost Species Day 2020

  1. Thank you so much. You have understood and that witnessing is what helps us all help our works recover. Thanks also for the sparrow info. It’s great to know they are not only there but being tended to 🙏


  2. This moves me and I thank you for your rite of passing of this passerine. This also encourages me to add that there are sparrows here at 58 degrees north (Brora, Sutherland) sheltering in cotoneaster bushes that the Highland Council trim back on this housing estate built in 1970s. We are near coastal golf links where perhaps the sparrows fuel up on grass seed (a lot of crested dogstail (Cynosurus cristata) and insects.
    I love the list of character traits you provide for this bonnie bird. The yellow petal shredding is new to me, and particularly apposite becasue yellow-petalled flowers are something of a touchstone for me … although my avatar here is of a red sunflower this time!
    You honour our changing world with beautiful witnessings of grief at loss. May you continue to touch hearts and to midwife change for the better x

    Liked by 1 person

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