Note worthy Stories and Quotes about

Passenger Pigeon in Canadian Museum

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Aldo Leopold wrote:

"The pigeon was a biological storm. He was the lightning that played between two opposing potentials of intolerable intensity: the fat of the land and the oxygen of the air. Yearly the feathered tempest roared up, down and across the continent, sucking up the laden fruits of forest and prairie, burning them in a traveling blast of life." [Sand County Almanac. "On A Monument to the Pigeon"]


 Alexander Wilson, wrote that "while visiting friends in New England, sitting in the kitchen suddenly the sky became dark, there was no light in the room, and a rumbling noise grew louder, I was certain it was a tornado". When his friends saw how frightened he was, they exclaimed, "Oh, its only the pigeons flying overhead".

George B. Thompson of Henderson County Texas wrote, " I remember that many times when I was on my way to school at about 8 o'clock in the morning a humming sound would begin in the northwest without warning, and in almost no time the horizon would be covered by such a dense cloud of birds that it completely covered the sky east, north, west and south, with not a white spot of sky showing. So dense was the light that it made twilight of the morning. The lowest birds flew only about 100 to 150 feel above the ground, literally millions of them, with a drumming sound of their wings, all moving in a southeasterly direction" .

Another wrote. In the fall of 1859 I have the opportunity to observe a flock of Passenger Pigeons feeding. The flock was over a quarter mile wide and 300 feet deep. In a few moments those in the rear, finding the ground stripped of food, arose above the tree tops and alighted in front of the advance column. This movement soon became continuous and uniform, birds from the rear flying to the front so rapidly that the whole had the appearance of a rolling cylinder, having a diameter of about 50 yards, its interior filled with flying leaves and grass. "The noise was deafening and the sight confusing to the mind".

The American Passenger Pigeon

(Ectopistses Migratorius)
An American Holocaust

Spring skies; vast tracts of oak;

Blue-gray wings; red breasts with fawn and white

--sweet billions overhead.

Thundering flocks; infinite numbers,

Black with multitudes - 240 miles long;

One mile wide; sometimes 3 days passing

-- into the maw of extinction.

Gone forever, September 1, 1914.

J.E. Sutter

John James Audubon while of a trip to St. Louis, during the entire 3 day travel, he observed a continuous flock of Pigeons overhead, with no beginning and no end. The flock flew over head unbroken for three days. Audubon said their droppings fell like snow flakes. He tried to count them but after a brief while, he realized they were to numerous to count. In less than 100 years there were no more.

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Some memorable quotes from those who saw the last Passenger Pigeons!

As told by Joe Boyd, long time resident of Chandler Texas, to the late Senator Ralph Yarborough.

"I will always remember the last Passenger Pigeons I ever saw. It was a cold morning in winter, there were 9 of them in a peach tree facing the rising sun, with their breast feathers fluffed out against the cold. The sun shining on their red breast made them look like nine large golden apples in the tree. I will never forget the sight. I never saw another Passenger Pigeon after that."

As written by Charles Dury of Cincinnati, Ohio

The Passenger Pigeon, A Reminiscence. Sept. 1910

"One foggy day in October 1884, at 5 a.m. I looked out of my bedroom window, and as I looked six wild pigeons flew down and perched on the dead branches of a tall poplar tree that stood about one hundred feet away. As I gazed at them in delight, feeling as though old friends had come back, they quickly darted away and disappeared in the fog, the last I ever saw of any of these birds in this vicinity.

Mr. R. D. Goss sends some interesting notes from Arcadia, Missouri dated March 14, 1896

"Years ago when a boy in Wisconsin, it was but a common occurrence to see the sun clouded by many thousands of Passenger Pigeons, and as late as in the Sixties, in Minnesota, I observed the same thing; in fact, have seen children out with cow bells and tin pans (and anything else that would make a racket), in seeding time, and were kept busy running to and fro to keep the Pigeons from devouring every grain of wheat, until the farmer could cover it up with his harrow. But Alas! that day is past. Some ten years ago I saw a flock of seven in Iowa, and do not remember seeing another until a few days ago, when I saw in the woods near here a flock of nine. They came close to me and for a few moments I think I was about as excited a man as you will ever meet." R. D. Goss

Simon Pokagon, an educated full-blooded Indian Chief of the Pottawatomies, writes about Passenger Pigeons, February, 1896

"An article on the Passenger Pigeon in the November number of the Chautauquan is well written and many interesting points were touched upon. He describes with the clearness which could not result from an attempt by an unobservant writer. Chief Pokagon denounces the exterminators of the Wild Pigeon and other game, and especially does he speak severely of the netters. The article is the best that I have ever read, though simple, but better expresses the research and observation of a reliable, thoughtful child of the forest. Everyone should read it, It could not be improved upon."


Sent in by my friend John Able of Michigan

Sent in by Steve Carstens

Wake-Robin by John Burroughs, first copyrighted in 1871. Published by The Riverside Press Cambridge, Houghton Mifflin Company.

Pigeon, wild, or passenger pigeon (Ectopisties migratorius), P. 160) "Wild pigeons, in immense numbers, used to breed regularly in the valley of the Big Ingin and about the head of the Neversink. The treetops for miles were full of their nests, while the going and coming of the old birds kept up a constant din. But the gunners soon got wind of it, and from far and near were wont to pour in during the spring, and to slaughter both old and young. This practice soon had the effect of driving the pigeons all away, now only a few pairs breed in these woods."

from "A Shadow over the Earth" by Thad Sitton

"The last great flight of Pigeons in Texas occurred in 1878, when Pigeons visited Austin and roosted in the ancient Cypresses that still stand today. There were scattered reports of Passenger Pigeons after that and then nothing. The great roost in Henderson County, Texas lay silent--a strange and depressing silence many local people thought. Something extraordinary and come and gone leaving only memories."

New Paper Articles Submitted by

"Jonathan T Wuepper"

Found the following in an 1843 Niles, Michigan (Berrien County) newspaper:

Niles Republican April 29, 1843;

"Pigeons--Warm weather has brot [sic] innumerable quantities of pigeons. The air is filled with them, and in the morning so densely that they darkened the sun. A continual firing of guns is kept up, and a graceless scamp was heard signing the following:

When I shoot my rifle clear,
to pigeons in the skies,
I'll bid farewell to pork and beans,
And live on good pot pies".

Niles Republican, May 6, 1843:

"PIGEONS!--A gentleman from Berrien [Berrien Springs, Michigan] informs us that about three miles and a half from that village, the pigeons have taken possesion of the woods, about 5 miles square, were they are nesting, and that there is from 10 to 75 nests on each tree. Large branches of trees are broken by them and the ground is strewn with eggs. On approaching the spot, one would imagine that he was near the Falls of Niagara, so incessant and loud is their thunder".

Read More Newspaper Articles that John has discovered in his on going research!

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More Newspaper Articles sent in by Jon

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