"Birds of Alabama"

©1924,pp 384

Arthur H. Howell.

Passenger Pigeon data on pages 122-123


PIGEONS AND DOVES: Family Columbidae.

PASSENGER PIGEON; WILD PIGEON: Ectopistes canadensis (Linnaeus)

State records and habits.-Wild pigeons, once enormously abundant, are now extinct. They occurred in immense flocks in spring and fall and many spent the winter in the State, roving over the country in search of mast, which formed their principal food. McCormack, describing the last great flight in CoIbert County, which occurred in the fall of 1881, says:

During that fall immense flocks of thousands and millions of birds were seen passing every evening and morning to and from their roosting place near Courtland. From about four o clock until after dark was the time for the evening flight, and during that time not five minutes elapsed that a flock could not be seen in some direction. It was a common thing to see flocks extending as far as the eye could reach from west to east and passing thus for half an hour at a time. During the day­time scattered flocks could be found everywhere in the woods. and large numbers of them were killed, and at night parties often went to their roost and killed wagon loads of them. Since that year I have not seen a pigeon.

Avery says of the birds: Once countless thousands came in winter to feed upon the mast of our forests. Not one to my knowledge has been seen since the winter of 1887, when Mr. Edward Pasteur, of Greensboro, shot a single specimen in the corporate limits of the town. This bird was not accompanied by any other of his species.

In a later paper Dr. Avery states that a flock of about 200 pigeons were seen at Greensboro the first week in November, 1890.: Several reports of the occurrence of the wild pigeon in Alabama indicate that the birds may have persisted there somewhat later than in other parts of the United States. B. O. Peterson, of Abbeville, told me in June, 1911, that he had himself seen a small flock on the upper Choctawhatchee in the fall of 1909. He is a hunter of wide experience and perfectly familiar with the wild pigeon. His report is confirmed by a similar but entirely independent one from Walter J. Moxie, of Savannah, Georgia, who states in a letter to the Biological Survey (November, 1910) that pigeons were believed to be still found in the upper Choctawhatchee swamp.


contributed by Jim Forrest


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