Online book news company Publishers Weekly announced on Wednesday that Jan Thornhill is the winner of the CAD30,000 2017 TD Canadian Children's Literature Award for her illustrated nonfiction picture book The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk
Thornhill narrates the path to extinction of a seabird species with a tragic flaw: the great auk
, through evolution, had become flightless.
His Great Auk
, a gawky flightless bird hunted to extinction for its feathers, meat, fat and oil, now guards an entrance to remote Fogo Island in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Now we learn that Great Auks
, the marauding Shetland bonxies, which used to feed on fish discarded at sea, are feeding instead on young puffins and guillemots because, with the shrinking of the fleet, there are so few discards any more.
The great auks
, Purcell reports, were "hunted for their feathers .
Like most marine birds, the great auks
had a population regulation strategy that delayed the age of reproduction, often beyond the age of sexual maturity.
We all know about dodos and great auks
as abstractions or stuffed specimens in museums.
Totally unwary, the great auks
dumbly stood their ground and let Cartier's crew club them to death.
Ellis presents sea creatures that either are extinct or are seriously threatened, including whales, great auks
, cod, and coral.