Taken from " Birds of Missouri",1907,pp 288


Otto Widmann

Pages 84-85 on Passenger Pigeon


315. ECTOPISTES MIGRATORIUS (Linn.). Passenger Pigeon.
Columba migratoria. Ectopistes macrura. Wild Pigeon.

Geog. Dist.-Formerly eastern North America to Hudson
Bay, west to Great Plains and straggling to Wyoming, Nevada I and Washington, breeding from latitude 320 in Mississippi to latitude 650 in Mackenize. In later years so extremely rare
that their occurrence anywhere may be regarded as casual, unless it be some unsettled parts along the northern border of the United States or in Canada.
Our new game law does not protect the Wild Pigeon at all, considering it extinct in the state of Missouri, though once m a while we find the capture of a few of them reported in the newspapers. That they were formerly abundant in Missouri is attested by the early travelers and explorers and is well known to all the old inhabitants. Available records are the following:
1833, April 21. Prince of Wied killed some above the mouth of the Kaw River.
1843, May 6. Audubon killed one or two north of the present site of St. Joseph.
1855, '56 and '57. F. V. Hayden says in his report: "Quite abundant on the lower Missouri River."
1872. Large flocks were observed by Dr. A. F. Eimbeck at New Haven, and his brother, Charles L. Eimbeck, who has two fine specimens in his collection of mounted birds.
1874, April 6. W. E. D. Scott saw a flock of seven at Warrensburg.
1878. Last seen at Fayette by Prof. Kilpatrick (Reported in 1885).
1880, September 29. Mr. J. D. Kastendieck took his last Wild Pigeon at Billings, but saw some several years afterward.
1882, February 5 and 6. Several large flocks were seen going north by the writer at St. Louis.
1883. Last year common (in the fall) at Keokuk (Currier).
1884, September 9 and 21. Seen at Mt. Carmel, by Mrs. Musick.
1885, April 18, September 27 (twenty), September 28 (fifty) and the last on September 30 at Mt. Carmel.
1885, September 19. Last seen at St. Louis by the writer.
1888, October 31. Mr. Jasper Bllnes of Alexandria, Clark Co., Mo., writes in Forest and Stream, vol. 31, p. 343: "During the whole year I have seen but few passenger pigeons. They were in former years very numerous here and could be seen in flocks composed of millions of birds every spring and fall"
1893. Last shipment of Wild Pigeons received at St. Louis by N. W. Judy & Co., the game dealers, who handled more dead and live pigeons than any other firm in the country, and who had their netters employed all the year around, tracing the pigeons to Michigan and Wisconsin in spring and to the Indian Territory and the south in winter. Silvan Springs, Ark., from where the last shipment was received according to Judy's letter to Mr. R. Deane (Auk, vol. 12, p. 298), is only twenty-five miles south of the southwest corner of the state.
1894, April 15. Mr. E. S. Currier sees ten pigeons at Keokuk, his first since 1888.
1896, May 19. The same sees one among doves, and again one October 18 of the same year.
1896, September 17. Mr. W. Praeger shoots a male near Xeokuk.
1896, December 17. Out of a flock of fifty near Attic, Oregon ~Co., Mo., Mr. Chas. U. Holden, Jr., kills a pair and sends them in the flesh to Mr. R. Deane of Chicago (Auk vol. 14, p. 317).
1897, August 17. A flock of 75-100 is seen twenty-five miles west of our state line in Johnson Co., Neb.
1902, September 213. Last seen at New Haven by Dr. Eimbeck.

Taken from " Birds of Missouri",1992,pp 399


Mark B. Robbins and David E. Easterla.

Passenger Pigeon data on pages 166-168

Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius)


Status: EXTINCT; formerly an abundant migrant; apparently a local breeder and winter resident.

Documentation: Specimens: male and female, 17 Dec 1896, Attie, Oregon Co. (CAS 15460; 15462; McKinley 1960b clarified the correct spelling and location).

Habitat: Primarily in mature forest, but apparently it was found in a variety of habitats.

Comments: McKinley (1960b) gives a detailed summary of the occurrence of this species in the state based on an extensive literature review. We summarize his findings below.


Apparently it was an abundant transient through Missouri, reported on several occasions to "darken the sky. Spring migration extended from Feb through May, with the largest numbers reported in late Mar and Apr. In the fall, immense flocks were reported as early as Sept, and their numbers increased at roost sites during Oct and Nov. Accounts of nesting and wintering are fewer and more fragmented; nevertheless, it was reported to have bred, at least locally, in huge colonies in a few areas of the state, and there are reports of birds breeding in scattered pairs. Accounts of large winter roosts are mainly from southern Missouri.

This species was still reported in enormous numbers until the 1880s, with one huge winter roost still persisting in Ripley Co. in 1883-84 (McKinley 1960b). However, after that account, there were only occasional reports of pigeons in the state, with none mentioning any large concentrations. Apparently the last report in Missouri (number of birds not indicated) was at New Haven, Franklin Co., on 26 Sept 1902 (Dr. Eimbeck; Widmann 1907

Contributed by Jim Forrest

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