Heath-Hen (Tympanuchus cupido cupido), Extinct, male, full mount, standing on lichen covered rock effect mounts, in metal edged glazed case with oak plinth, the case 48cm high, 42cm wide, 24.8cm deep
Heath-Hen was a distinctive sub-species of the Greater Prairie-Chicken, a large North American bird in the grouse family, or possibly a distinct species. They inhabited the scrubby heathland barrens of coastal North America. They were extremely common in colonial times, and were extensively hunted by settlers for food. By 1870 all Heath-Hens were lost from the mainland and by the late 1800's there were only about seventy left. After a final jump in numbers to around six hundred in 1920, the population began its final descent. in 1927 only about a dozen were left - a mere two being females, despite protection. By 1928 only one male survived, lovingly nicknamed Booming Ben. He was last seen on his traditional lekking ground between West Tisbury and today's Martha's Vineyard airport on March 11th 1932, and thus presumably died about eight years old of unknown causes. Heath-Hens were one of the first bird species that Americans tried to save from extinction. As early as 1791 a Bill For the Preservation of Heath-Hen and Other Game was introduced in the New York State Legislature.