100 Years Ago Today

Saving Our Birds, New York Times

Possibly the most abundant bird ever to have existed, the passenger pigeon once migrated in giant flocks that sometimes exceeded three billion, darkening the skies over eastern North America for days at a time. No wild bird in the world comes close to those numbers today. Yet 100 years ago this week, the very last pigeon of her kind died in her cage at the Cincinnati Zoo. Her name was Martha, and her passing merits our close attention today.



Mark’s Rant:  Nearly the entire population of 135 million birds nested in a single Wisconsin colony in 1871, and were hunted by shotgun to extirpation by 1889, an 18-year period.  I read an article that several plant species including poke-weed, have/had a range identical to that of the passenger pigeon.  Just think, that when you walk in an old growth forest of trees between 100 and 150-years old, that those trees may have held passenger pigeon nests, as Maryland represented breeding habitat for the bird.