Passenger Pigeon

The passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was once probably the most numerous bird on earth but became extinct through an extraordinary case of massive overhunting and habitat loss.

This striking blue-gray pigeon, closely related to the mourning dove, was highly social, living in huge flocks across the great deciduous forests that once covered eastern North America. At the time of the arrival of Europeans, there may have been up to 5 billion passenger pigeons, representing 25 to 40 percent of the entire continent's bird population. Their range stretched from Alberta to Nova Scotia, and south to the Gulf states, covering more than 7.25 million square kilometers. They wintered in the southern states and in the spring made spectacular migratory flights northward to their breeding grounds in the ...

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