Extinct Birds: Passenger Pigeon
by Simone Preuss
The story of the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius
) is particularly heartbreaking because its fall from grace was so dramatic: in 1800s, it was one the world’s most plentiful birds, but by the beginning of the next century it had been driven to extinction. According to some estimates, there may have been as many as five billion Passenger Pigeons in the United States when the first settlers arrived from Europe.
Given its once large numbers, it’s perhaps no surprise to learn that the Passenger Pigeon’s migratory flocks were huge – but just how huge still beggars belief. Only the swarms of Rocky Mountain locusts are said to have been larger. And, while we’re not sure we can even picture this, some flocks reportedly contained over two billion birds and were big enough to partially block out the sun. Consider the fact that these groups of pigeons could be 1.6 km(1 mi) wide and 500 km (300 mi) long…
(Read more: Environmental Graffiti)