Klarinet Archive - Posting 000363.txt from 1994/05
From: "Dan Leeson: LEESON@-----.EDU>
Date: Sat, 21 May 1994 09:35:44 -0400
It is way off subject, but the last passenger pigeon was named "Martha" and
is in the museum of The Smithsonian in Washington, DC where I saw her (it??)
and it is quite possible that she died in Cincinnati instead of the city
where she reposes on public display and in perpetuity.
There is a reliable report that one flock took three days to fly over a given
point, that it was several miles wide and several birds deep. The fact that
it flew at a constant speed allowed an estimate to be made of the number
pigeons in that flock assuming that each one required a space of 1 cubic
foot. It was something like 100,000,000 birds.
Their droppings nurtured fields and damaged hats all over America and
Canada. Now, not a single one remains alive. They were killed as food,
for their feathers, and as an amusement. Apparently they could be killed
by simply picking them up and touching their breast, gently, with one
finger. Of a Sunday, entire families would go to the woods to find
passenger pigeons and touch their breasts to see if the reports of the
simplicity of killing them were true. Apparently, those reports were true.
It was such a stupid bird that it allowed itself to be picked up off a nest
if it could be reached.
Dan Leeson, Los Altos, California