The odds of survival are rarely good for a bird so far from home, but we always wish for a miracle. Many of us hope, perhaps selfishly, that at the very least we don’t have to see them go when they go. An individual that simply disappears could still be out there, and it’s never easy knowing for certain that such an incredible story has a sad ending. Those of us who study nature see the cycle of life and death played out time and time again, but at times we feel such a loss a little more personally. These circumstances are especially unfortunate, as a bird that was apparently healthy and active even after a unbelievable trans-Atlantic journey was cut short unnaturally by a collision with a vehicle. I take some solace in the knowledge that this incredible little traveler’s final resting place will be an institution of science, as well as finding peace in the pure, joyous wonderment that this remarkable discovery brought to so many people. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I’m confident the smiles and successes will outweigh the sorrow in our memories.
Rest In Peace, Corn Crake
November 9, 2017. Cedar Beach, Suffolk County, NY
Hereafter preserved at the American Museum of Natural History