Lost to Sight

Black-faced honeycreeper

2019
C-print
96 x 72 cm


Dusky seaside sparrow
2019
C-print
96 x 72 cm


Least Vermilion Flycatcher
2019
C-print
96 x 72 cm


Black-faced honeycreeper
By 1997, only three individuals were known to exist. These had home ranges within the Hanawi Natural Area Reserve and the adjacent Haleakala National Park.

On September 9, 2004, one of the remaining birds, a male, was captured and taken to the Maui Bird Conservation Center in Olinda, in an attempt to breed the bird in captivity. However, biologists could not find a mate for the male before it died on November 26, 2004.

A 2018 study recommended declaring the species extinct, citing bird population decline patterns and the lack of any confirmed sightings since 2004.

Least Vermilion Flycatcher
The species was previously found throughout the island of San Cristóbal and was likely similar in habits and ecology as other Pyrocephalus species.

This species, endemic to San Cristóbal in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands, has not been recorded since the 1980s despite recent searches and is now considered extinct (Wiedenfeld 2006).

Dusky seaside sparrow
In 1979 and 1980, a captive breeding program was established. However, only seven dusky seaside sparrows were located and they were all male. Because there were no females left to help reproduce the species, the captive breeding program brought in females from a closely related subspecies of sparrow.

Cross-breeding attempts, such as this, are designed to preserve some of the genetic diversity represented by a species. The female offspring of the cross-bred pair could then breed with the other male dusky seaside sparrows.

Through this kind of breeding, an individual with a very high percentage of dusky seaside sparrow genes (although not 100%) could live to carry on much of the genetic diversity that would otherwise be lost. Unfortunately, the cross-breeding attempts were unsuccessful. The last dusky seaside sparrow died in captivity in 1987.