Charlie at 10,000 Birds has a great article up commemorating the 93rd anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Whether a bird lover or not, whether a nature lover or not, the story is certainly a tragedy.
“[A]s recently as just two hundred years ago billions of Passenger Pigeons lived and fed in the enormous forests that covered the eastern United States…[W]hen the first Europeans arrived on the American continent the population of Passenger Pigeons was between 3 and 5 billion individuals (a number which is apparently close to how many individual birds of all species there are in North America now). Not only was one in every four of all the birds in this New World a Passenger Pigeon, they traveled around in vast flocks that roosted together in winter, migrated together in spring, and nested together in summer. A flock on the move must have been one of the most awe-inspiring natural sights ever recorded.
One of the first settlers in Virginia wrote that,`There are wild pigeons in winter beyond number or imagination, myself have seen three or four hours together flocks in the air, so thick that even have they shadowed the sky from us.’”
By 1914, they were all extinct. A long and well-written article. I highly recommend it.