In those days, people still lived on the islands of Saint Kilda. Two men from the village went out on the rock. They found a big strange bird. It was sleeping. They decided to bring it home to the village.

Magazine - Goodbye Great Auk


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Goodbye Great Auk

by John Kuti

In those days, people still lived on the islands of Saint Kilda. Two men from the village went out on the rock. They found a big strange bird. It was sleeping. They decided to bring it home to the village.

Far out into the ocean to the north and west of Britain are the cold wild islands of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. They make a line of beautiful beaches 150 miles long. Further west is the small group of islands called Saint Kilda. They are cold and wild too, but without beaches. The islands are tall volcanic rocks hundreds of metres high.

For thousands of years, people lived on these islands. In 1930 the last people, there were only 36 of them, had a meeting and decided to leave. The biggest island in the group is called Hirta. Sheep still live there without any people. When you arrive by boat, you see very tall black rocks all around. Some big rocks make their own small islands. This true story happened on the tallest of the rocks – “Stac An Armin” in 1840.

In those days, people still lived on the islands of Saint Kilda. Their stone houses were all in one village by the ocean at the bottom of a tall dark hill. The houses only had one room – for people and sheep, which used to live with them in the winter and spring. Two men from the village, McDonald and McKinnon, were on the rock. It was their work to collect birds – some for food, some to make shoes or hats with. Some dead birds they put in the earth to help their vegetables grow. They found one strange big bird. It was sleeping. They decided to bring it home to the village.

I think people in the village were interested in the bird. We now know that this was a Great Auk, a kind of swimming bird that lived in many parts of the North Atlantic. It was big and strong and had a loud cry. They began to talk with the other people in the village about what they should do with it. After two days, the weather got worse and then there was a terrible storm. The people in the village decided that this was because of the bird and they killed it. This was the last example of the Great Auk in Britain. Four years later, the last Great Auk in the world died in Iceland.

We know the Great Auk died out because of people. But where did the people of Saint Kilda go? This is more difficult to explain. Some say that they were bored living on the island so far from modern cities. Other people think that the problem was tourists, who began to visit Saint Kilda at the end of the 19th century. A new theory says that using too many dead birds as fertilizer made their food unhealthy. I think it was a mistake to kill the auk.





I think that is a murder the birds in the village fo diferent razons.

This article is interesting ! though it's sad when we can't see these swimming birds . I personally think that we shouldn't blame the people on the island who killed the birds because they don't know these birds are in danger of extinction . Anyway , I find it brutal to kill the birds

hello all,

I personally think, even though world seekers say we have nearly explored all the things and left nothing to explore more on this land, on the contrary, sorry to say but I've read there is still something to find-out.
The group of people were really unaware, had not much knowledge and information that something is going to be very very wrong by there such brutal action, eventually the world lost a wonderful, fascinating and swim expert bird, alas.
However, my personal perception firmly concludes so far, It has now become a duty for all of us who understand there-selves educated, intellectual and wisdom as well. we must all will have to transfer the knowledge to them who really don't know what could be the consequences. "as this article does magnificently"
I exactly believe in "knowledge is power if applied"...

I think the story of the Great Auk it’s interesting. I don’t really understand why the people of St. Kilda killed this bird. They should know that killing the Great Auk won’t save them from the storm. Maybe they were a bit superstitious, because they lived far from the civilization, they were isolated from the other cultures. If they had lived closer to the civilization, they would have seen that the Great Auk cannot be caused for the storm.  The other reason why I couldn’t understand the killing of the Great Auk is, that the people of St. Kilda used birds to make shoes, hats or fertilizer, so the birds were really useful for them. I think it was a mistake to kill the Great Auk.

I think people from Saint Kilda made a big mistake by killing the Great Auk.
Their life style is so strange for me, i can't imagine the hats with birds... it so crazy, but I know, that our culture could be strange for people like them.
This article is great, because we can read about an interesting culture, and about a big mistake(killing the swimming bird).
We know, that a bird can't make a storm, so people from the island killed the great auk for nothing. It is bad, that nowaday we can't see a bird like that.

I think that we shouldn’t blame people who killed the bird, causing this way the extinction of the Great Auk. They couldn’t know that this animal is an endangered species. It is unambiguous, that we don’t understand how could they believe that the bird caused the terrible storm. In the 19th century the people’s mentality was different. In that period people believe in the supernatural powers, in the superstitions and in the beliefs. This may be strange for us, because our mentality is completely different in the 21th century. In my opinion we shouldn’t think about the past, we have to concentrate on the present and the future: protecting the nature and preserving its integrity.

I think this is an example of human ignorance. These people must have been superstitious, maybe because of the distance from the civilization. They didn't know the effect on the ecosystem of what they've done. There should have been someone to warn them. Anyway, there's nothing to do about it, we should rather learn from the past. The Great Auk has died out because of people who had hardly known anything about the outer world. We can't judge them by our way of thinking. We have to stop destroying the environment, because we've got so many things to live with.

what happened to the bird was terrible

I´m Eleonora, and my teacher invite me to register in this page. Very Interesting! 

Hmm...I think it was not anyone's fault.  It is fate. It is worthless to think why the great  Auk died out. It died out because it did. Most of the time we waste time in thinking  why. The great Auk left us just like dinosaur did, and I believe one day the human beings will also die out. I think so at least.