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'Great Auk' Hoax Caused Blushes

From Our Soeciol Representative


Americas 'great auK mystery,' which has been the sensation of the tJ8 bird world for nearlv two

years, is a mystery no more. It has turned out to be nothing but a big-toed sand lark— and America's top bird experts are blushing. The 'great auk' sensation started when an earlymorn ing stroller found its amaz ing tracks on Mantoloking Beach, New Jersey, 21 months ago. The prints were enormous —18 inches long, 9 inches across and web-shaped. Schoolchildren' came in classes to see them. News papers took photographs. Professors made plaster casts. Ornithologists thought it might be a throw back to an extinct species. Weather washed the prints away, but within a

iew aay* mere were more. : Bird - watchers camped overnight on the beach. -'? Nobody got a glimpse of it, but whenever things got dull in Mantoloking, the bird came back. / At the .week-end, a retired insurance broker, Jim Tur ner, couldn't keep the joke to himself, any longer. He announced :— 'One professor said it was the genus Dio medea lalbatrus, but it . was only the genus James J. Turner/ Jun.' /f*'..-'- ' Then he dipped in a cup board and hauled out the two jiant bird's claws he made by gluing stones, cork, brass, linoleum and plywood to the soles of an old pair of shoes. To the hoaxed,, embar rassed bird experts he ex plained, apologetically:— 'It tets awfully, quie't around here in winter. I Just thought up.' .? ? ? ..?..?? ?-. -,?