We arrived off Ducie Island at dawn on October 12. The rough seas and the air above the low atoll in the Pitcairn group of the South Pacific were alive with birds.
Our last stop was Easter Island, one of the most isolated islands in the world, some 1200 miles east of the Pitcairn group and 2000 miles from South America. Easter Island is the site of an ecocatastrophe, made famous by Jared Diamond. All of its native birds are extinct, replaced by a collection of “garbage birds” (ones not sought by bird-watchers), especially the wide-ranging South American Diuca finch pictured here, which flits among the looming stone heads.The state of the birds on these islands is a harbinger of a catastrophe that looms globally,