Saturday, May 02, 2015

Passenger Pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius)

Last September was the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon.

In the nineteenth century, the Passenger Pigeon was one of the most common birds in the world.  There are records of flocks that stretched a mile long and contained billions of birds.  By the early twentieth century though, they were nearly extinct.  After European settlers arrived, much of their habitat was destroyed, and they were exploited as an inexpensive food source.  By the time it was understood that the Passenger Pigeon needed protection, it was too late.  Martha, the very last one died one hundred years ago, on September 1st 1914.  The loss of this beautiful bird gained public’s attention, which resulted in many new conservation and protection law and practices.