What’s a heath hen? There was a time on the Vineyard when that question could easily be answered. Sad to say, that era ended around 1932 when the last heath hen was seen on the Island.
This coming Thursday, June 2 at 5:30 p.m. a film memorializing these extinct birds will be shown at the Federated Church in Edgartown. The movie is called Lost Birds and it is a documentary directed by Todd McGrain, a professor of art at Cornell University.
The film follows Mr. McGrain as he searches for the locations where the five birds were last seen in the wild and negotiates for permission to install the large bronze sculptures there. Travelling all the way from the tropical swamps of Florida to the rocky coasts of Newfoundland, he scouts locations, talks to park rangers, and speaks at town meetings to gather support for his project. His efforts were successful and his memorials now stand in the places where the birds once socialized, courted, and fed their young.
Admission to the movie is $8 for Martha’s Vineyard Museum members and $12 for nonmembers. The inauguration of the memorial will occur on the same day at noon in the State Forest near gate 19 of the bike bath on the Edgartown-West Tisbury Road.