Passenger Pigeons: Native to N. America, flocks of birds at one time were so large it was said they could block out the sun. One flock in 1866 was described as being 1 mile wide, 300 miles long and took 14 hours to pass, with estimated numbers of birds in excess of 3.5 billion. The species went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world to extinction during the space of just 100 years. Martha, thought to be the world's last Passenger Pigeon, died on Sept. 1, 1914 at Cincinnati…

Passenger Pigeons: Native to N. America, flocks of birds at one time were so large it was said they could block out the sun. One flock in 1866 was described as being 1 mile wide, 300 miles long and took 14 hours to pass, with estimated numbers of birds in excess of 3.5 billion. The species went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world to extinction during the space of just 100 years. Martha, thought to be the world's last Passenger Pigeon, died on Sept. 1, 1914 at Cincinnati…

Ancient DNA Could Return Passenger Pigeons to the Sky Genetic engineering could restore the once profuse North American bird after a century...

Ancient DNA Could Return Passenger Pigeons to the Sky Genetic engineering could restore the once profuse North American bird after a century...

Martha, the last passenger pigeon. She died Sept 1, 1914, marking the 100th anniversary of the extinction.

100 years later, the passenger pigeon still haunts us

Martha, the last passenger pigeon. She died Sept 1, 1914, marking the 100th anniversary of the extinction.

Passenger Pigeon - The species went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world during the 19th century to extinction early in the 20th century.  The world's last Passenger Pigeon, died on September 1, 1914.

Passenger Pigeon - The species went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world during the 19th century to extinction early in the 20th century. The world's last Passenger Pigeon, died on September 1, 1914.

Century After Extinction, Passenger Pigeons Remain Iconic—And Scientists Hope to Bring Them Back

Until recently it seemed that once a species went extinct, there was little we could do. Extinction truly was forever. But recent developments in genetics have given researchers some hope that extinct species might be brought back to life.

A representation of John Ruthven's painting of Martha, the last passenger pigeon.

A representation of John Ruthven's painting of Martha, the last passenger pigeon.

Passenger Pigeon (1914):  The Passenger Pigeon was a bird that existed in North America until the early 20th century when it went extinct due to hunting and habitat destruction.  It is believed that this species once constituted 25 to 40 percent of the total bird population of the United States.  Martha, thought to be the world's last Passenger Pigeon, died on September 1, 1914, at the Cincinnati Zoo. The aviary cage where Martha died is now the Passenger Pigeon Memorial.

Martha, the World’s Last Passenger Pigeon

Passenger Pigeon (1914): The Passenger Pigeon was a bird that existed in North America until the early 20th century when it went extinct due to hunting and habitat destruction. It is believed that this species once constituted 25 to 40 percent of the total bird population of the United States. Martha, thought to be the world's last Passenger Pigeon, died on September 1, 1914, at the Cincinnati Zoo. The aviary cage where Martha died is now the Passenger Pigeon Memorial.

A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction by Joel Greenberg

A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction by Joel Greenberg

In his book about the passenger pigeon, the naturalist Joel Greenberg sets out to answer a puzzling question: How could the bird go from a population of billions to zero in less than fifty years?

The Birds

In his book about the passenger pigeon, the naturalist Joel Greenberg sets out to answer a puzzling question: How could the bird go from a population of billions to zero in less than fifty years?

The Harvard Museum of Natural History recently opened an exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of the bird's extinction, in hopes of reminding the public of this cautionary tale.

100 Years Later: Remembering the Passenger Pigeon

The Harvard Museum of Natural History recently opened an exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of the bird's extinction, in hopes of reminding the public of this cautionary tale.

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