"Birds of Iowa "

©1907,pp 417

R.M. Anderson.

Passenger Pigeon data on pp 239-240

The Passenger Pigeon, the "Wild Pigeon" whose enormous flights were the wonder of the early settler, is now practically extinct in Iowa, although there are a few records of straggling migrants during recent years.

Thomas Say noted the arrival of the species at Engineers' Cantonment, May 2, 1820. 5. F. Baird records a specimen taken at the mouth of the Big Sioux, May 3, 1856, by Dr. Hayden (9th Pac. R. R. Rep., Part 2, Birds, 600).

In Decatur and .Mahaska counties, T. M. Trippe observes that it "occurs regularly, chiefly in spring and fall, sometimes in large flocks. Not observed to breed" (Proc. Bos. Soc., xv, 1872, 240). John Krider states: "I found it in Iowa in 1875, breeding in Benson Grove [now Leland, Winnebago county], and also at Clear Lake, where it was more plentiful" (Forty Years' Notes,55)

Keyes and Williams state: "Large flocks occasionally appear in different parts of the state. A few are usually seen each spring, and a few pairs sometimes breed within the limits of the state. A nest with one egg was taken at Charles City, June 14, 1879" (Bds. of Iowa, 1889,I25).

A few of the later records are given below:

Blackhawk- our latest record is eighteen years old" (Peck).

Des Moines-Last record, a flock of about twenty on Mississippi between Burlington and Dallas in fall of 1891 (Bartsch, Iowa Orn., ii, 4, 1895, 1-2).

Franklin- a flock of about twenty birds was seen frequently in Mayne's Grove during the spring of 1893 and one was found dead; this is my only record" (Shoemaker).

Kossuth-"three were seen April 6, 1903" (Bingaman).

Lee- "saw a single female May 19, 1896, and shot a single young male Sept. 7, same year. They are said to have been common in 1884" (Praeger); "last ones seen May 13, 1899" (Currier).

Linn-"two seen in May, 1901, a couple miles below Cedar Rapids, the only ones I ever saw in Iowa" (Berry).

Poweshiek-"I saw two flocks and killed six birds about 1881" (Lynds Jones).

Winneshiek- "I have never seen this species. It was very common 15-20 years ago.. A farmer tells me of seeing a small flock in. April, 1895. He told me that it used to be seen in immense flocks in April and in the fall, remaining about two weeks. A few remained to breed (Smith). My mother tells of immense flocks which visited Winneshiek county in the 50's, alighting in the timber, where the boys killed large numbers at night by knocking them from the branches with sticks.


Contributed by Jim Forrest


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