This image of the now extinct Great Auk was painted by Heinrich Harder in 1916. (

The Great Auk vanished from the earth in the mid-19th century, but on Fogo Island off Newfoundland's northeast coast is a haunting memorial to the extinct sea bird.

American artist Todd McGrain has created a two-metre tall, cast-bronze sculpture of the Great Auk that faces out toward the islands where they once lived.

It's part of a series of sculptures McGrain has made honouring extinct birds called The Lost Bird Project. "The sculpture actually faces [Newfoundland's] Funk Islands, which were the last North American roosting sites of the Great Auk and it's also the site of the most dramatic destruction of the population. It's where so many birds were taken to supply feathers for the feather trade in Europe", McGrain said.


A bronze statue of the extinct Great Auk is on Fogo Island, on Newfoundland's northeast coast. ((Courtesy Lorie Penton))

The sculpture can be seen by boats entering or leaving the harbour at Fogo Island and visitors to the community can hike about an hour to see the structure up close.

McGrain said he's going to place a similar sculpture of the bird in Iceland, which was another significant migration point for the Great Auk.