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The very last Labrador Duck

by Diane Janowski © All rights reserved.
Labrador Duck Elmira, NY

The very last specimen of Labrador Duck (Camptorhynchus labradorius) was shot, killed, and eaten on December 12, 1878 on Elmira's Southside. Seems a young man was hunting food for his family on Robinson Street near the Chemung River and Janowski's farm when he came upon a duck. Keep in mind that Elmira was experiencing a flood at the particular moment so food was in short supply.

This species of duck had previously thought to have extinct since 1875. A novice bird watcher, and reader of the American Naturalist magazine, caught wind of the boy's catch and tried to acquire the specimen, but alas the bird was dinner for the family. He was able to retrieve the head and the neck from the garbage pail, for William Dutcher, expert on the history of the Labrador Duck, and later president of the National Audubon Society.

Dutcher had the remains in his possession for many years at his home on Long Island until they were lost during a move to New York City.



The Labrador duck:- A revised list of the extant specimens in North America by William Dutcher

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