The Sad Decline of the Passenger Pigeon

  • Passenger Pigeon

At one time, it was believed there were as many as five billion passenger pigeons in eastern North America. By the mid nineteenth century, their numbers began to decline sharply – killed by sportsman, commercial hunters and by farmers angry as the birds began raiding farm fields as forests disappeared to logging. Jon Wuepper, a naturalist and historian, documented the decline of the pigeon in southwest Michigan by scouring sixty-plus years of newspaper articles, beginning in the late 1830’s. He traced the decline through 1894, when the last bird was killed in the area. Wuepper tells the story.