One more nice page about dodos: Description of the Dodo bird (raphus cucullatus) from the Birds of Mauritius site. The page starts with the dodo “portrait” above and the Old Print of a Dodo:
The dodo was a flightless bird native only to the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. The dodo was a flightless member of the pigeon family. Fully grown dodos weighted about 23 kg (50 pounds). Around 1505 the Portuguese became the first Europeans to discover the dodo. By 1681 it had been driven to extinction by humans and the feral dogs, pigs, rats, and monkeys introduced by Europeans to Mauritius.
It talks a bit more about its history, the physical characteristics, natural history, including food habits, reproduction, habitat and behavior; and about the economic importance for humans, including the positive point and conservation, which means extinction. The “positive” description says:
The main purpose dodos served to humans, in the brief contact between the two species, was as food. The sailors frequently fed on wildlife from Mauritius while staying there, although it has been said that dodo meat was not particularly tasty. Still, they were hunted intensely, with sailors sometimes bringing back as many as 50 at a time. What they couldn’t eat right away they would salt and bring back with them. A few attempts were made to bring back a dodo alive. When this was successful, entrepreneurs would capitalize on the unique looks of the bird and tour the dodos around Europe, displaying them in cages and demonstrating how the dodo could “eat” stones. (Strickland and Melville, 1848) (Fuller, 1987)
I don’t want to copy all the text from the page, because it’s a good reference and I want people to visit it. The page also includes links to more dodo sites, scientific information, bibliography, and links to articles, included in the site. Almost all the articles were already blogged about here. I would like also to suggest their Images of the Dodo page.
Update: I removed all the links, since the whole site is gone and the links were broken.