The Lost Bird Project

Wed, 06/12/2013 - 8:00pm

A fishing boat passes by the bronze sculpture of the Great Auk on Joe Batt's Point on Fogo Island, Newfoundland.

This documentary charts sculptor and Irondequoit native, Todd McGrain's efforts to memorialize five birds — the Great Auk, Carolina Parakeet, Labrador Duck, Passenger Pigeon and Heath Hen — driven to extinction in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The captivating nature documentary follows McGrain and his brother-in-law, Andy, as they embark on a road trip in search of the last-known locations of the birds and seek permission to install McGrain's six-foot-tall bronze sculptures on those sites. Travelling from the tropical swamps of Florida to the rocky coasts of Newfoundland to the shores of Martha's Vineyard, the men spend more than two years scouting locations, talking to park rangers, speaking at town meetings and battling bureaucracy in their effort to gather support for the project. An elegy to the five birds, The Lost Bird Project, airing Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 8 p.m. on WXXI-TV, is a thoughtful and sometimes humorous look at the artist and his mission.