National Geographic : 1936 Jan
AUKS AND THEIR NORTHLAND NEIGHBORS © National Geographic Society Painting by Allan Brooks THE LAST SURVIVING GREAT AUK PERISHED MORE THAN 80 YEARS AGO Only in the artist's imagination does this bewildered, solitary bird remain to walk the bleak, rocky shores of little Funk Island, near Newfoundland, while wheeling gulls scream a requiem. " Here lies the victim of man's thoughtlessness," might read the epitaph of his clan, which once bred in amazing numbers here. Small-winged and flightless, penguinlike in their helplessness, the luckless great auks were slaughtered by the thousands for food and featherbeds - even for bait and fuel. Their eggs were stolen. Inevitably they became extinct, and today a mounted bird is worth thousands of dollars, while a dozen eggs would almost ransom a king.