Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Passenger Pigeon Anniversary

The Year 2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of extinction of the passenger pigeon. Project Passenger Pigeon (P3) is a collaborative effort based at the Chicago Academy of Sciences to raise awareness of the passenger pigeon story as a way to promote species and habitat conservation. Among many other efforts, they are raising money for a film: From Billions to None, The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction.

The P3 website has a cool map of the U.S. and Canada that is clickable on each state and province. Here is what it says about the passenger pigeon in my state of New Hampshire:

"In his 1903 work on the birds of New Hampshire, Glover Allen summarized the former status of the bird: “Arriving within our borders during the first week of April in tremendous flocks, they nested in large colonies, at least as far north as the White Mountains proper.” The pigeons would stay until October.

Last Records of the Passenger Pigeon:
A bird shot on October 10, 1881 was stuffed and displayed in the Public Library of Acworth, not far from where the bird met its demise. A later report is that of W.W. Flint who told Allen that he killed a bird near his home at Concord during the summer of 1885."

The passenger pigeon was once the most abundant bird in North America--an estimated 3 to 5 billion birds. The P3 website is full of information about the passenger pigeon, the relationship of people to nature, and how we can ensure no other species are lost to extinction because of human actions. There are many creative ideas about how to get involved.

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