Girl Planting seeds

Our Vanishing World: Birds

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, it is estimated that the total number of passenger pigeons in the United States was about three billion birds. The bird was immensely abundant, as illustrated by this passage written by the famous ornithologist, naturalist and painter John James Audubon: ‘I dismounted, seated myself on an eminence, and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for every flock that passed. In a short time finding the task which I had undertaken impracticable, as the birds poured in countless multitudes, I rose, and counting the dots then put down, found that 163 had been made in twenty-one minutes. I traveled on, and still met more the farther I proceeded. The air was literally filled with Pigeons; the light of noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse, the dung fell in spots, not unlike melting flakes of snow; and the continued buzz of wings had a tendency to lull my senses to repose… Before sunset I reached Louisville, distance from Hardensburgh fifty-five miles. The Pigeons were still passing in undiminished numbers, and continued to do so for three days in succession.’See ‘Passenger Pigeon’. Read more....



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