Hunters in the midwest trapped and shot these birds by the tens of millions, then shipped their piled-up carcasses east via the new network of transcontinental railroads. Theoretically, it may be possible to combine fragments of DNA extracted from these tissues with the genome of an existing species of pigeon, and then breed the passenger pigeon back into existence—a controversial process known as de-extinction. ), Female passenger pigeons laid only one egg at a time, in closely packed nests atop the dense forests of the northern United States and Canada. Check out these fascinating facts … ", Passenger Pigeons Used to Flock by the Billions, Nearly Everyone in North America Ate Passenger Pigeons, Passenger Pigeons Were Hunted with the Aid of 'Stool Pigeons', Tons of Dead Passenger Pigeons Were Shipped East in Railroad Cars, Passenger Pigeons Laid Their Eggs One at a Time, Newly Hatched Passenger Pigeons Were Nourished With 'Crop Milk', Deforestation and Hunting Doomed the Passenger Pigeon, Conservationists Tried to Save the Passenger Pigeon, The Last Passenger Pigeon Died in Captivity in 1914, It May Be Possible to Resurrect the Passenger Pigeon, How the Sixth Mass Extinction Affects the U.S. Economy, 10 Recently Extinct Insects and Invertebrates, Prehistoric Life During the Pleistocene Epoch, 5 Environmental Consequences of Oil Spills, 10 Facts About Maiasaura, the 'Good Mother Dinosaur'. They lived in colonies that stretched over hundreds of square miles with larger trees – each holding up to fifty to hundred nests. Quick Passenger Pigeon Facts Lived all over North America Were 3 to 5 billion living Passenger Pigeons at one point in time Nests contained 1 egg at a time Went extinct in 1914 Was the origin of the term “stool pigeon” Could fly as fast as a gazelle could run About the Passenger Pigeon … The last known passenger pigeon—a captive female named Martha—died on September 1, 1914. At roosting places, the flocks packed so densely on tree branches … ... A flock of passenger pigeons 1 mi (1.5 km) wide and 300 mi (500 km) long was once spotted in southern Ontario. This is an animal that existed in gestalt. Much huntable land disappeared as industrial advance eliminated wildlife habitats and new farming methods reduced hedgerows…. The overall length of an adult male was about 39 to 41 cm (15.4 to 16.1 in) and they weighed up to 260 and 340 g (9 and 12 oz). The Ohio State Legislature dismissed one such petition in 1857, stating that "the passenger pigeon needs no protection. Passenger pigeon had slate blue head, gray plumage on the back, bluish wings with black spots, red chest and grey and white tail. Find interesting facts on the passenger pigeon in Canada and the U.S. by clicking this map of North America. In 1871, naturalists estimated that one Wisconsin nesting ground took up almost 1,000 square miles and accommodated well over 100 million birds. As settlers pressed westward, however, passenger pigeons were slaughtered by the millions yearly and shipped by railway carloads for sale in city markets. Billions of these birds inhabited eastern North America in the early 1800s; migrating flocks darkened the skies for days. From 1870 the decline of the species became precipitous, and it was officially classified as extinct when the last known representative died on September 1, 1914, in the Cincinnati (Ohio) Zoo. At the start of the 19th century, the passenger pigeon was the most common bird in North America, and possibly the entire world, with a population estimated at five billion or so individuals. Its essence was in the flock. The passenger pigeon had pinkish tinted gray feathers, red eyes and feet, and a black bill. 6) Passenger Pigeon chicks were called squabs (as are other pigeon and dove babies). As settlers pressed westward, passenger pigeons were slaughtered by the millions. 1-5 Pigeon Facts 1. This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/animal/passenger-pigeon, Smithsonian - Encyclopedia - The Passenger Pigeon, Stanford University - The Passenger Pigeon. Britannica Kids Holiday Bundle! The last known passenger pigeon died in 1914. Billions of these birds inhabited eastern North America in the early 1800s; migrating flocks darkened the skies for days. The passenger pigeon story continued to resonate throughout the century. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Even if you never end up holding a pigeon or keeping one in your home, it’s fun to learn more about these birds that live in your city. But in many ways, the species was already gone, for a solitary passenger pigeon is almost not a passenger pigeon at all. Here are 32 Interesting Pigeon facts. The story of the passenger pigeon is unlike that of any other bird.
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