Posted by: Dan | September 1, 2010

Remembering Martha

Painting by L. A. Fuertes

The Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was probably once the most numerous bird on Earth. It lived in enormous migratory flocks – sometimes containing more than two billion birds – that could stretch one mile (1.6 km) wide and 300 miles (500 km) long across the sky, sometimes taking several hours to pass. Their flocks, a mile wide and up to 300 miles long, were so dense that they darkened the sky for hours and days as the flock passed overhead.

And despite being so numerous, they were hunted to extinction in less than a hundred years, with amazing efficiency.

96 years ago today, on September 1, 1914, Martha, the last known passenger pigeon, died in the Cincinnati Zoo, Cincinnati, Ohio.


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