" Birds of South Dakota ",

©1946,pp 200

William H. Over and Craig S.Thomas

Passenger Pigeon data on page 116.



315. PASSENGER PIGEON, WILD PIGEON (Ectopistes migratorius)

While the range of the Passenger Pigeon was usually farther east, old South Dakota settlers reported its occurrence quite frequently in our southeastern tier of counties.

It can perhaps be said that for one hundred years the Passenger Pigeon was one of the most abundant birds in the eastern half of North America. Their numbers in migration could be compared to those of migrating buffaloes on the western plains. It would take hours for either a flock of Pigeons or a herd of buffaloes to pass a given point. A flock of Pigeons would, for a time, shut off the sun's rays, while a massive herd of buffaloes would often prevent the movement of trains on the frontier until the great mass had passed over the track. But the fate of the buffalo is the counterpart of that of the Pigeon.

One of the writers saw Passenger Pigeons in abundance in Illinois in the early seventies, but in describing them at this date memory only recalls that in general appearance they very much resembled our Mourning Dove, except that the Pigeon was a third larger. It also has a deeper reddish brown throat and breast. Their food consisted of acorns, berries, weed seeds and grain. They were gregarious in nesting habits, building slight nests of fine twigs and laying one or two white eggs, which were somewhat. larger than those of the Mourning Dove.


contributed by Jim Forrest


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