AR-News: Killing 30, 000 passenger pigeons required to vie for prize in 19th-century

D. Roth droth at
Thu Nov 20 10:45:16 EST 2003


Posted on Thu, Nov. 20, 2003		
Last passenger pigeon died in Cincinnati

The passenger pigeon -- thought to have once been the most numerous bird 
on the planet -- became extinct at 1 p.m. on Sept. 1, 1914.

The last of its kind died at the Cincinnati Zoo. Her name was Martha.

As many as 5 billion of the birds once soared above the primary forests 
covering North America. According to 19th-century reports, migrating 
flocks were so dense and long, they would blot out the sun for two hours.

But the fast and graceful dovelike birds were hunted for meat and sport. 
In one competition, a participant had to kill 30,000 pigeons to be 
considered for a prize.

The Smithsonian Institution has custody of Martha's stuffed body.

-- Paula Schleis

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