GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Passenger pigeon. Artwork of the extinct passenger pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius. This was a species with well-developed social tendencies. Millions of these birds roamed the great eastern forests of North America feeding on beech-nuts, acorns, and cultivated grains. Their flocks were so large that they were claimed to darken the sky. Hunters found them easy prey and an almost endless supply of meat, feathers and fat. From about 1850 large numbers of shot pigeons were transported to America's growing cities. Each female passenger pigeon laid only one egg a year. Their numbers were in sharp decline by the 1880s and by September 1914 they were extinct.
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