The tale of the heath hen is a Vineyard story. In a Gazette article published April 21, 1933, this lament was written: “Somewhere on the great plain of Martha’s Vineyard death and the heath hen have met. One day, just as usual, there was a bird called the heath hen, and the next day there was none.”

If the prose seems over the top, consider that the heath hen had become extinct a year prior, the last known living specimen a rowdy fellow called Booming Ben, who lived in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest. But then was no more. A statue stands there in his honor — tall and strong, looming over a forest bike path as both an elegy and an omen.

But why all this talk about the heath hen in the here and now? Because the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is hosting a Heath Hen Day event on Saturday, March 11 to commemorate the anniversary of the last sighting of Booming Ben, on March 11, 1932.

The day begins at 10 a.m. and runs to 4 p.m. with all manner of hands-on activities to celebrate the species, which was part of the prairie grouse family and once roamed in great numbers up and down the eastern seaboard. But during the 1800s the heath hen was wiped out, until by 1870 the remaining few lived only on Martha’s Vineyard.

During subsequent decades the Vineyard colony died off too — from loss of habitat, predation, inbreeding — until only Booming Ben remained and the Island watched and chronicled the last of an entire species.

The event will lift up the story of the heath hen and also shed light on other endangered species. Special guests from Felix Neck will be on hand too, which could mean all manner of beak and talon.