100 Years Since Extinction Of Passenger Pigeon

September 1, 2014

The Passenger Pigeon was a species of bird that once visited Bermuda. Posting on the Bermuda Audubon Society’s Facebook page, Audubon President Andrew Dobson said, “September 1st marks the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon.  

“Martha was the last known living Passenger Pigeon; she was named “Martha” in honour of the first First Lady Martha Washington. She died in Cincinnati Zoo on Sep 1st 1914.

Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius, juvenile (left), male (center), female (right), offset reproduction of watercolor by Louis Agassiz Fuertes/Public domain. Photograph: Louis Agassiz Fuertes/Public domain

Passenger Pigeon

“Named after the French word passager for “passing by”, the Passenger Pigeon  Ectopistes migratorius was once the most abundant bird in North America, and possibly the world.

“Passenger Pigeons were recorded in Bermuda in the 19th century and no doubt before. In Reid’s ‘The Birds of Bermuda’ [1877], an entry for Passenger Pigeon reads as follows, “Mr. Bartram shot one as he lay on a sofa in his museum with “brokenbone” fever, on October 24th, 1863: it was sitting on a tree close to his house”.

“The species lived in enormous migratory flocks until the early 20th century, when hunting and habitat destruction led to its demise. Some estimate 3 to 5 billion Passenger Pigeons were in the United States when Europeans arrived in North America. A slow decline between about 1800 and 1870 was followed by a catastrophic decline between 1870 and 1890. Martha has become a symbol of the threat of extinction.”

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Category: All, Environment

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  1. PANGAEA says:

    During WW 11 several Carrier/ Homing pigeons were taken across the English channel, on war duty, it was their job to fly at some 40 to 50 M.P.H. back to England in the worst possible weather with a small bottle strapped to their leg containing a “War Message”.

    Those Army pigeons saved many a soldiers life ,they are with out a doubt our unsung avian heroes, unfortunately there is no monument to commemorate their glory.

    A pigeon will sit out in the rain,survive hurricanes, put on a fantastic air show, they even support one another , they are very docile birds, being part of the dove family the “Bird of Peace”.

    Pigeons want to get to know you, or is it that they are trying to tell you they are hungry, the worlds greatest pain, you do not need me to tell you that, they eat grains and small wild bird seeds.

    I refer to our Bermuda Pigeons as the “Battle Tanks of the bird kingdom” they are the worlds greatest survivors, now we hear the extinction of another species 100 years ago.

    That is so very sad.

    Who is next ? Our national bird !