Extinct Great Auk birds (Der Der Riesenalk). Great Auks were found in the waters of the North Atlantic, from northern Spain to the coasts of Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Ireland, and Great Britain.The Great Auk was about 85cm (33 in) tall. It was flightless but a powerful swimmer. The Great Auk was an important part of many Native American cultures as food and as a symbolic item. The bird's down was in high demand in Europe, a factor which largely eliminated the European populations by the mid-16th century. In 1844, the last two confirmed specimens were killed off the coast of Iceland. How sad.