The Story of one Passenger Pigeon named "George" "Men still live who, in their youth remember pigeons;
trees still live that, in their youth, were shaken by a living wind.
But a few decades hence only the oldest oaks will remember, and at long last only the hills will know. We grieve because no living man will ever see again the onrush of victorius birds, sweeping a path for spring across the March skies, chasing the defeated winter from all of the woods and prairies. There will always be pigeons in books and in museums but they are dead to all hardships and to all delights. They cannot dive out of a cloud, nor clap their wings in thunderous applause. They know no urge of seasons; they feel no kiss of sun, no lash of wind and weather, they live forever by not living at all." From a Monument to the Pigeon
Aldo Leopold, 1947
[The time is upon us when only the oldest oaks remember Passenger Pigeons.] Site index located at bottom of this page! "George" Introduction
Since my childhood days I have always been totally captivated by Passenger Pigeons, now to own one is truly a god send and I am still at a lost for words to describe how I feel.
I have assembled a wealth of information on the Passenger Pigeon. If you take your time and carefully look at the site index, I'm certain you will find answers to nearly all of your questions. If you need help just email me. The first 3 pages are about the acquisition of this particular specimen. The remaining pages include historical information about Passenger Pigeons, ranging from complete written accounts to short newspaper articles and essays on the subject. There is even a photo gallery of Passenger Pigeon paintings and specimens.
The site is continuously expanding and many visitors have contributed very interesting information, from personal family accounts to rarely seen published information. If you are doing research on the Passenger Pigeon feel free to ask questions if you can't find answers, and I encourage all to contribute information as well.
I HAVE A PASSENGER PIGEON! :)
This is a mature male Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius, which I acquired. Dec. 3rd, 1999. After all this time, now going on 14 years , I still can't believe that I have it! And I am always in awe as when I look at George. This specimen originated in Michigan. It measures 17 inches from tip of beak to tip of tail. That's 6-7 inches longer than a Mourning Dove.
The Pigeon is housed in an beautiful original octagonal wood and glass case. There is a mural painted on the inside back of the case. It perches on a natural branch of what appears to be Winged Elm and "real" lichens were used to adorn the base of the painting to resemble the tree's bark. The taxidermist truly did a superb job in every aspect of preparation of this display. Surely even then he must have known what a treasure he had as he obviously devoted lots of time and effort to complete the work. The bird's plumage is in superb condition. The pose is very realistic. And its eyes! its eyes are even the correct color, bright red! This is a beautiful specimen and so well done, that it really looks like it's alive. And just think for a minute, this Passenger Pigeon is well over 111 years old! It is truly an awesome bird to behold!
How I came to own it.
One does not really ever aspire to own a Passenger Pigeon, or for that matter any extinct bird, but perhaps I thought of it a time or two. For as long as I can recall, even as a kid, I have had a fascination with Passenger Pigeons. So when the opportunity presented itself to actually own a real Passenger Pigeon, I knew if I did not at least make an effort of acquire it, I would forever regret it. We all know that some opportunities only come around once in a life time! The bird was put up for auction, and I happened to be at the right place at the right time, and I won the auction. Truly unbelievable!
Once I had the bird, I became determined to research as much historical information as possible about this particular Passenger Pigeon. Such information would not only be interesting to know, but it would make the specimen more historically important. I just had to find out as much as I could about it.
- Where was it collected?
- Who collected it?
- Who mounted it?
- Who painted the mural on the inside back of the case?
- Where has it been during the past 100+ years?
Where I enter the Birds History!
I obtained the Passenger Pigeon in December, 1999, from George Puth of Thousand Oaks, California. George had owned the bird for 18 years. He purchased it from Norman Kasavage of Union Lake, Michigan in 1982. Kasavage had placed a small classified ad in Hemming Motor News, of all places, advertising the bird for sale. That is how George Puth learned of it. (both guys had a fascination with antique cars)
That's all the information I obtained from Mr. Puth, he knew nothing else about the bird. However he did have the original shipping receipt from Norm Kasavage, with Norm's address on it.
Additionally, after I obtained the bird, I noticed on the back of the wooden display case there was another name and address, written in pencil. What is written, appears to be: "Schummer", 651 Bates, B'ham, Mich.
Could this signature be that of the first owner? Or perhaps it was of the taxidermist who prepared the specimen? Regardless, there had to be a connection between this name and address, a previous owner and the bird's history.
Go on to PAGE - 2 to read what I discovered.
Click any number below to advance to that page.
Also Visit The Passenger Pigeon.org