Ectopistes migratorius Linnaeus, 1766:285

Passenger pigeon, Wild pigeon

 

 

Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Palumbus migratorius Linnaeus, 1766:285; Columba canadensis Linnaeus, 1766; Columba migratoria Linnaeus, 1766:285; Ectopistes migratoria Linnaeus, 1766:285

 

Conservation Status

Last Record: 1 September 1914 at c.1:00 PM (Shufeldt, 1915:30)

IUCN RedList status: Extinct

 

The Passenger Pigeon was, until its extinction, the most numerous species of bird in the world. It's entire population was variously estimated at 3 to 5 billion individuals, and a flock flying overhead would darken the sky for up to two whole hours. Indeed, one very famous flock was estimated to contain 3 billion individuals alone.

It was this complacency that ultimately led to the birds' extinction. It was an agricultural pest and slaughtered indiscriminately. Nobody even considered the possibility of the species becoming extinct because it was so numerous, until it was too late. Several efforts to locate remaining wild individuals after 1900 were in vain (e.g. Beebe, 1909), and the last known indiviual, "Martha", died in the Cincinnati Zoo, Ohio on the 1st of September, 1914 at approximately 1:00 PM (Shufeldt, 1915:30).

 

Distribution

North America

 

Biology

 

 

Hypodigm

Apparently more than 1500 specimens are preserved in various museums and institutions around the world (RMNH website, link below)

 

Naturalis, Natural Museum of Natural History, Leiden, the Netherlands (RMNH): 11 specimens:

RMNH 15707 (male)

RMNH 110.048 (male)

RMNH 110.085 (male)

RMNH 110.086 (male)

RMNH 110.087 (female)

RMNH 110.088 (female)

RMNH 110.089 (female)

RMNH 110.090 (male)

RMNH 110.091 (female)

RMNH 110.092 (male)

RMNH 110.093 (female)

 

For photographs of all of the above specimens see the RMNH official [url=https://ip30.eti.uva.nl/naturalis/detail.php?lang=uk&id=39]website[/url].

 

American Museum of Natural History, New York: ? specimens

 

Jephson Science Center at Keuka College, Keuka Park, New York: ? specimens

 

Rosensteinmuseum, Stuttgart, Germany: ? specimens

 

Vanderbilt Museum (New York, NY, USA): ? specimens

 

New York State Museum: 2 [url=https://www.nysm.nysed.gov/treasures/treasure.cfm?object=391993]specimens[/url].

 

Royal Ontario Museum: at least 1 specimen?

 

Audie Murphy/American Cotton Museum in Greenville, Texas at least one specimen

 

[b]Other specimens:[/b]

 

"male and female, 17 Dec 1896, Attie, Oregon Co. (CHAS 15460; 15462" (Robbins, 2018:56)

 

Media

 

 

 

 

References

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Mayfield, Harold F. (1972). Bird Bones Identified from Indian Sites at Western End of Lake Erie. Condor 74(3): 344-347.

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https://www.tarpits.org/research-collections/collections/bird-faunal-list

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https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/01/180111084953.htm

https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-12-03/why-did-passenger-pigeons-go-extinct

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/editorials/article-the-uncomfortable-silence-of-29-billion-missing-birds

https://extinctanimals.proboards.com/thread/8178/ectopistes-migratorius-passenger-pigeon

 

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