Passenger Pigeon

Passenger Pigeon

Overview
The Passenger Pigeon or Wild Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was a bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

, now extinct, that existed in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and lived in enormous migratory flocks until the early 20th century. One sighting in 1866 in southern Ontario was described as being 1 mile wide, 300 miles long, and taking 14 hours to pass a single point with number estimates in excess of 3.5 billion birds in the flock. That number, if accurate, would likely represent a large fraction of the entire population at the time.

Some estimate that there were 3 billion to 5 billion Passenger Pigeons in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 when Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

ans arrived in North America.
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Encyclopedia
The Passenger Pigeon or Wild Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was a bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

, now extinct, that existed in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 and lived in enormous migratory flocks until the early 20th century. One sighting in 1866 in southern Ontario was described as being 1 mile wide, 300 miles long, and taking 14 hours to pass a single point with number estimates in excess of 3.5 billion birds in the flock. That number, if accurate, would likely represent a large fraction of the entire population at the time.

Some estimate that there were 3 billion to 5 billion Passenger Pigeons in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 when Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

ans arrived in North America. Others argue that the species had not been common in the Pre-Columbian
Pre-Columbian
The pre-Columbian era incorporates all period subdivisions in the history and prehistory of the Americas before the appearance of significant European influences on the American continents, spanning the time of the original settlement in the Upper Paleolithic period to European colonization during...

 period, but their numbers grew when devastation of the American Indian
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 population by European diseases led to reduced competition for food.

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.
At the time, Passenger Pigeons had one of the largest groups or flocks of any animal, second only to the Rocky Mountain locust
Rocky Mountain locust
The Rocky Mountain locust was the locust species that ranged through almost the entire western half of the United States until the end of the 19th century...

.

Some reduction in numbers occurred because of habitat loss when the Europeans started settling further inland. The primary factor emerged when pigeon meat was commercialized as a cheap food for slaves and the poor in the 19th century, resulting in hunting on a massive scale. There was a slow decline in their numbers between about 1800 and 1870, followed by a catastrophic decline between 1870 and 1890. Martha
Martha (passenger pigeon)
Martha was the last known living passenger pigeon; she was named "Martha" in honor of Martha Washington....

, thought to be the world's last Passenger Pigeon, died on September 1, 1914, at the Cincinnati Zoo
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is the second-oldest zoo in the United States and is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. It opened in 1875, just 14 months after the Philadelphia Zoo on July 1, 1874. The Reptile House is the oldest zoo building in the United States, dating from 1875.The Cincinnati...

.

In the 18th century, the Passenger Pigeon in Europe was known to the French
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 as tourtre; but, in New France
New France
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

, the North American bird was called tourte. Tourtière
Tourtière
A tourtière is a meat pie originating from Quebec, usually made with minced pork and/or veal, or beef. It is a traditional part of the Christmas and/or Christmas Eve réveillon and New Year's Eve meal in Quebec, but is also enjoyed and sold in grocery stores all year long...

, a traditional meat-pie originating from Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

 and associated with French-Canadian culture, was so-named because tourte was historically a key ingredient. Today, the dish is typically made from pork and/or veal, or beef. In modern French, the bird is known as the pigeon migrateur.

In Algonquian languages
Algonquian languages
The Algonquian languages also Algonkian) are a subfamily of Native American languages which includes most of the languages in the Algic language family. The name of the Algonquian language family is distinguished from the orthographically similar Algonquin dialect of the Ojibwe language, which is a...

, it was called amimi by the Lenape
Lenape language
The Delaware languages, also known as the Lenape languages, are Munsee and Unami, two closely related languages of the Eastern Algonquian subgroup of the Algonquian language family...

 and omiimii by the Ojibwe. The term passenger pigeon in English derives from the French word passager, meaning to pass by.

Description


The Passenger Pigeon was larger than a Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove
The Mourning Dove is a member of the dove family . The bird is also called the Turtle Dove or the American Mourning Dove or Rain Dove, and formerly was known as the Carolina Pigeon or Carolina Turtledove. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds...

 and had a body size similar to a large Rock Pigeon
Rock Pigeon
The Rock Dove or Rock Pigeon, is a member of the bird family Columbidae . In common usage, this bird is often simply referred to as the "pigeon"....

. The average weight of these pigeons was 340-400 grams (12-14 oz) and, per John James Audubon
John James Audubon
John James Audubon was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats...

's account, length was 42 cm (16.5 in) in males and 38 cm (15 in) in females. The Passenger Pigeon had a bluish gray head and rump, slate gray back, and a wine red breast. The male had black streaks on the scapulars and wing coverts and patches of pinkish iridescence at the sides of the neck changed in color to a shining metallic bronze, green, and purple at the back of the neck in various lights. Female and immature birds were similar marked but with duller gray on the back, a lighter rose breast and much less iridescent necks. The tail was extremely long at 20–23 cm (8–9 in) and gray to blackish with a white edge.

Distribution



During summer, Passenger Pigeons lived in forest habitats throughout North America east of the Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...

 from eastern and central Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 to the northeast United States. In the winters, they migrated to the southern U.S. and occasionally to Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 and Cuba
Cuba
The Republic of Cuba is an island nation in the Caribbean. The nation of Cuba consists of the main island of Cuba, the Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos. Havana is the largest city in Cuba and the country's capital. Santiago de Cuba is the second largest city...

.

Taxonomy and systematics


The Passenger Pigeon is a member of the Columbidae family (pigeons and doves) that has been assigned to the genus Ectopistes. Earlier descriptions of the species placed the population with the genus Columba
Columba (genus)
The large bird genus Columba comprises a group of medium to large stout-bodied pigeons, often referred to as the typical pigeons. The terms "dove" and "pigeon" are used indiscriminately for smaller and larger Columbidae, respectively...

, but it was transferred to the monotypic
Monotypic
In biology, a monotypic taxon is a taxonomic group with only one biological type. The term's usage differs slightly between botany and zoology. The term monotypic has a separate use in conservation biology, monotypic habitat, regarding species habitat conversion eliminating biodiversity and...

 genus (no fossil
Fossil
Fossils are the preserved remains or traces of animals , plants, and other organisms from the remote past...

 ancestors known) due to the greater length of the tail and wings. The generic epithet translates as 'wandering about', the specific indicates that it is migratory
Bird migration
Bird migration is the regular seasonal journey undertaken by many species of birds. Bird movements include those made in response to changes in food availability, habitat or weather. Sometimes, journeys are not termed "true migration" because they are irregular or in only one direction...

; the Passenger Pigeon's movements were not only seasonal, as with other birds, they would amass in whatever location was most productive and suitable for breeding.

The Passenger Pigeon's closest living relative were thought to be the Zenaida doves
Zenaida Doves
The Zenaida doves make up a small genus of American doves. There are 7 species:* White-winged Dove, Zenaida asiatica* West Peruvian Dove, Zenaida meloda* Zenaida Dove, Zenaida aurita...

 (e.g. Mourning Dove
Mourning Dove
The Mourning Dove is a member of the dove family . The bird is also called the Turtle Dove or the American Mourning Dove or Rain Dove, and formerly was known as the Carolina Pigeon or Carolina Turtledove. It is one of the most abundant and widespread of all North American birds...

 Z. macroura),. Some have suggested using Mourning Doves for cloning
Cloning
Cloning in biology is the process of producing similar populations of genetically identical individuals that occurs in nature when organisms such as bacteria, insects or plants reproduce asexually. Cloning in biotechnology refers to processes used to create copies of DNA fragments , cells , or...

 the Passenger Pigeon in the future. However, in 2010 genetic data showed it was closer to the American pigeons Patagioenas
Patagioenas
Patagioenas is a genus of New World pigeons whose distinctness from the genus Columba was long disputed but ultimately confirmed. It is basal to the Columba-Streptopelia radiation. Their ancestors diverged from that lineage probably over 8 million years ago...

. Rather than belonging (like Zenaida) to the American dove clade
Clade
A clade is a group consisting of a species and all its descendants. In the terms of biological systematics, a clade is a single "branch" on the "tree of life". The idea that such a "natural group" of organisms should be grouped together and given a taxonomic name is central to biological...

 around Leptotila
Leptotila
Leptotila is a genus of birds in the Columbidae family.It contains the following species:* L. verreauxi Bonaparte, 1855 - White-tipped Dove* L. megalura Sclater & Salvin, 1879 - Yungas Dove...

, the DNA sequence data show Ectopistes to be part of a radiation that includes the "typical" Old World pigeons (e.g. Domestic Pigeon
Domestic Pigeon
The Domestic Pigeon was derived from the Rock Pigeon. The Rock Pigeon is the world's oldest domesticated bird. Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets mention the domestication of pigeons more than 5,000 years ago, as do Egyptian hieroglyphics.Research suggests that domestication of pigeons was as early as...

 Columba livia) and the Eurasian turtledoves (Streptopelia
Streptopelia
Streptopelia is a genus of birds in the dove family. These are mainly slim, small to medium-sized species. The upperparts tend to be pale brown, and the underparts are often a shade of pink. Many have a characteristic black-and-white patch on the neck, and monotonous cooing songs.The heartland of...

) and Patagioenas, as well as the cuckoo-doves and relatives of the Wallacea
Wallacea
Wallacea is a biogeographical designation for a group of Indonesian islands separated by deep water straits from the Asian and Australian continental shelves. Wallacea includes Sulawesi, the largest island in the group, as well as Lombok, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, Timor, Halmahera, Buru, Seram, and...

 region and its surroundings. If anything, Ectopistes is closer to the former, but relationships within this Columbidae lineage are not fully resolved yet.

Behavior


The Passenger Pigeon was a very social bird. It lived in colonies stretching over hundreds of square miles, practicing communal breeding with up to a hundred nests in a single tree. Pigeon migration, in flocks numbering billions, was a spectacle without parallel:
There was safety in large flocks which often numbered hundreds of thousands of birds. When a flock of this huge a size established itself in an area, the number of local animal predators (such as wolves, foxes, weasels, and hawks) was so small compared to the total number of birds that little damage would be inflicted on the flock as a whole. It was common for passenger pigeon flocks to literally perch on each other's backs, an unusual behavior even for socially-inclined birds. This colonial way of life and communal breeding became very dangerous when humans began to hunt the pigeons. When the Passenger Pigeons were massed together, especially at a huge nesting site, it was easy for people to slaughter them in such great numbers that there were not enough birds left to successfully reproduce the species. As the flocks dwindled in size with resulting breakdown of social facilitation, it was doomed to disappear.

The mainstays of the passenger pigeon's diet were beech
Beech
Beech is a genus of ten species of deciduous trees in the family Fagaceae, native to temperate Europe, Asia and North America.-Habit:...

nuts, acorn
Acorn
The acorn, or oak nut, is the nut of the oaks and their close relatives . It usually contains a single seed , enclosed in a tough, leathery shell, and borne in a cup-shaped cupule. Acorns vary from 1–6 cm long and 0.8–4 cm broad...

s, chestnut
Chestnut
Chestnut , some species called chinkapin or chinquapin, is a genus of eight or nine species of deciduous trees and shrubs in the beech family Fagaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The name also refers to the edible nuts they produce.-Species:The chestnut belongs to the...

s, seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

s, and berries found in the forests. Worm
Worm
The term worm refers to an obsolete taxon used by Carolus Linnaeus and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck for all non-arthropod invertebrate animals, and stems from the Old English word wyrm. Currently it is used to describe many different distantly-related animals that typically have a long cylindrical...

s and insect
Insect
Insects are a class of living creatures within the arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body , three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and two antennae...

s supplemented the diet in spring and summer. The time of the spring migration depended on weather conditions. Small flocks sometimes arrived in the northern nesting areas as early as February, but the main migration occurred in March and April.

The nesting sites were established in forest areas that had a sufficient supply of food and water available within daily flying range. A single site might cover many thousands of acres and the birds were so congested in these areas that hundreds of nests could be counted in a single tree. A large nesting in Wisconsin was reported as covering 850 square miles, and the number of birds nesting there was estimated at 136,000,000. The nests were loosely constructed of small sticks and twigs and were about a foot in diameter. A single, white, elongated egg was laid per nesting. The incubation period was from twelve to fourteen days. Both parents shared the duties of incubating the egg and feeding the young. The young bird was naked and blind when born, but grew and developed rapidly. When feathered it was similar in color to that of the adult female, but its feathers were tipped with white, giving it a scaled appearance. It remained in the nest about fourteen days, being fed and cared for by the parent birds. By this time it had grown large and plump and usually weighed more than either of its parents. It had developed enough to take care of itself and soon fluttered to the ground to hunt for its food.

Causes of extinction


The extinction of the Passenger Pigeon has two major causes. The primary cause is held to be the commercial exploitation (unregulated hunting) of pigeon meat on a massive scale. But current examination also focuses on the pigeon's loss of habitat.

Hunting


Prior to colonization, Aboriginal Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 occasionally used pigeons for meat. In the early 19th century, commercial hunters began netting and shooting the birds to sell in the city markets as food, as live targets for trap shooting
Trap shooting
Trap shooting is one of the three major forms of competitive clay pigeon shooting . The others are skeet shooting and sporting clays. There are many versions including Olympic trap, Double trap , Down-The-Line, and Nordic trap. American trap is most popular in the United States and Canada...

 and even as agricultural fertilizer
Fertilizer
Fertilizer is any organic or inorganic material of natural or synthetic origin that is added to a soil to supply one or more plant nutrients essential to the growth of plants. A recent assessment found that about 40 to 60% of crop yields are attributable to commercial fertilizer use...

.

Once pigeon meat became popular, commercial hunting started on a prodigious scale. The bird painter John James Audubon
John James Audubon
John James Audubon was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats...

 described the preparations for slaughter at a known pigeon-roosting site:
Pigeons were shipped by the boxcar
Boxcar
A boxcar is a railroad car that is enclosed and generally used to carry general freight. The boxcar, while not the simplest freight car design, is probably the most versatile, since it can carry most loads...

-load to the Eastern cities. In New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, in 1805, a pair of pigeons sold for two cents. Slaves and servants in 18th and 19th century America often saw no other meat. By the 1850s, it was noticed that the numbers of birds seemed to be decreasing, but still the slaughter continued, accelerating to an even greater level as more railroads and telegraphs were developed after the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

.

One of the last large nestings of Passenger Pigeons was at Petoskey, Michigan
Petoskey, Michigan
Petoskey is a city and coastal resort community in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 6,080. It is the county seat of Emmet County....

, in 1878. Here 50,000 birds were killed each day and the hunt continued for nearly five months. When the adult birds that survived the slaughter attempted second nestings at new sites, they were located by the professional hunters and killed before they had a chance to raise any young. In 1896, the final flock of 250,000 were killed by the hunters knowing that it was the last flock
Flock (birds)
A flock is a group of birds conducting flocking behavior in flight, or while foraging. The term is akin to the herd amongst mammals. The benefits of aggregating in flocks are varied and flocks will form explicitly for specific purposes...

 of that size.

Loss of habitat


Another significant reason for its extinction was deforestation
Deforestation
Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees where the land is thereafter converted to a nonforest use. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to farms, ranches, or urban use....

. The birds traveled and reproduced in prodigious numbers, satiating predators
Predator satiation
Predator satiation is an antipredator adaptation in which prey occur at high population densities, reducing the probability of an individual organism being eaten....

 before any substantial negative impact was made in the bird's population. As their numbers decreased along with their habitat, the birds could no longer rely on high population density for protection. Without this mechanism, many ecologists believe, the species could not survive.

Methods of killing



Alcohol-soaked grain intoxicated the birds and made them easier to kill. Smoky fires were set to nesting trees to drive them from their nests.

Attempts at preservation


Conservationists were ineffective in stopping the slaughter. A bill was passed in the Michigan legislature making it illegal to net pigeons within two miles (3 km) of a nesting area, but the law was weakly enforced. By the mid 1890s, the Passenger Pigeon had almost completely disappeared. In 1897, a bill was introduced in the Michigan legislature asking for a ten-year closed season on Passenger Pigeons. This was a futile gesture. This was a highly gregarious species—the flock could initiate courtship and reproduction only when they were gathered in large numbers; it was realized only too late that smaller groups of Passenger Pigeons could not breed successfully, and the surviving numbers proved too few to re-establish the species. Attempts at breeding among the captive population also failed for the same reasons.

Attempts to revive the species by breeding the surviving captive birds were not successful. The passenger pigeon was a colonial and gregarious bird practicing communal roosting
Communal roosting
Communal roosting is practiced by birds when large flocks or colonies roost together usually in trees with several hundred on each.Several communal roosting trees can be located within densely populated cities nowadays where common birds like house sparrows and starlings etc...

 and communal breeding and needed large numbers for optimum breeding conditions. It was impossible to reestablish the species with just a few captive birds, and the small captive flocks weakened and died. Since no accurate data were recorded, it is only possible to give estimates on the size and population of these nesting areas. Each site may have covered many thousands of acres and the birds were so congested in these areas that hundreds of nests could be counted in each tree. One large nesting area in Wisconsin was reported as covering 850 square miles (2,201.5 km²), and the number of birds nesting there was estimated to be around 136,000,000. Their technique of survival had been based on mass tactics.
The extinction of the Passenger Pigeon aroused public interest in the conservation movement
Conservation movement
The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....

 and resulted in new laws and practices which have prevented many other species from becoming extinct.

Last wild survivors



The last fully authenticated record of a wild bird was near Sargents, Pike County, Ohio
Pike County, Ohio
As of the census of 2000, there were 27,695 people, 10,444 households, and 7,665 families residing in the county. The population density was 63 people per square mile . There were 11,602 housing units at an average density of 26 per square mile...

, on March 22, 1900, although many unconfirmed sightings were reported in the first decade of the 20th century. From 1909 to 1912, a reward was offered for a living specimen — no specimens were found. However, unconfirmed sightings continued up to about 1930.

Reports of Passenger Pigeon sightings kept coming in from Arkansas
Arkansas
Arkansas is a state located in the southern region of the United States. Its name is an Algonquian name of the Quapaw Indians. Arkansas shares borders with six states , and its eastern border is largely defined by the Mississippi River...

 and Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

, in groups of tens and twenties, until the first decade of the 20th century.

The naturalist Charles Dury, of Cincinnati, Ohio, wrote in September 1910:

Martha




In 1857, a bill was brought forth to the Ohio State Legislature seeking protection for the Passenger Pigeon. A Select Committee of the Senate filed a report stating "The passenger pigeon needs no protection. Wonderfully prolific, having the vast forests of the North as its breeding grounds, traveling hundreds of miles in search of food, it is here today and elsewhere tomorrow, and no ordinary destruction can lessen them, or be missed from the myriads that are yearly produced."

Fifty-seven years later, on September 1, 1914, Martha, the last known Passenger Pigeon, died in the Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati is a city in the U.S. state of Ohio. Cincinnati is the county seat of Hamilton County. Settled in 1788, the city is located to north of the Ohio River at the Ohio-Kentucky border, near Indiana. The population within city limits is 296,943 according to the 2010 census, making it Ohio's...

. Her body was frozen into a block of ice and sent to the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

, where it was skinned and mounted. Currently, Martha (named after Martha Washington
Martha Washington
Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was the wife of George Washington, the first president of the United States. Although the title was not coined until after her death, Martha Washington is considered to be the first First Lady of the United States...

) is in the museum's archived collection, and not on display. A memorial statue of Martha stands on the grounds of the Cincinnati Zoo.

Coextinction


An often-cited example of coextinction
Coextinction
Coextinction of a species is the loss of a species as a consequence of the extinction of another. The term was originally used in the context of the extinction of parasitic insects following the loss of their specific hosts...

 is that of the Passenger Pigeon and its parasitic louse
Louse
Lice is the common name for over 3,000 species of wingless insects of the order Phthiraptera; three of which are classified as human disease agents...

 Columbicola extinctus and Campanulotes defectus. Recently, C. extinctus was rediscovered on the Band-tailed Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
The Band-tailed Pigeon, Patagioenas fasciata, is a medium-sized bird of the Americas. Its closest relatives are the Chilean Pigeon and the Ring-tailed Pigeon, which form a clade of Patagioenas with a terminal tail band and iridescent plumage on their necks.It ranges from British Columbia, Utah, and...

, and C. defectus was found to be a likely case of misidentification of the existing Campanulotes flavus.

Further reading

  • Weidensaul, Scott
    Scott Weidensaul
    Scott Weidensaul is a Pennsylvania-based naturalist and author. He has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in the non-fiction category for his book Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere With Migratory Birds.-Profile and works:...

     (1994). Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians. Golden, Colorado: Fulcrum Publishing. ISBN 1-55591-143-9.
  • Eckert, Allan W. (1965). The Silent Sky: The Incredible Extinction of the Passenger Pigeon. Lincoln NE: IUniverse.com. ISBN 0-595-08963-1.
  • French, John C. (1919), The Passenger Pigeon in Pennsylvania Altoona, Pa.: Altoona Tribune Co.
    Altoona Tribune
    The Altoona Tribune was a daily newspaper in Blair County, Pennsylvania.It was launched on January 1, 1856 by Ephraim B. McCrum and William M. Allison, with equipment purchased from the defunct Altoona Register. Two years later, H. C. Dern acquired Allison's share of the company, and in 1875, Hugh...

  • Mershon, W. B., ed. (1907)
    The Passenger Pigeon New York: Outing Press
  • Price, Jennifer (2000). Flight Maps: Adventures with Nature in Modern America. Basic Books. ISBN 0-465-02486-6.
  • Schorger, A.W. (1955). The Passenger Pigeon: Its Natural History and Extinction. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI. Reprinted in paperback, 2004, by Blackburn Press. ISBN 1-930665-96-2.

External links