POULTRY 101

PIGEONS

Pigeons can be raised for meat or entertainment. There are five types of pigeons:

English Pouter pigeon

English Pouter

Fantail pigeon

Fantail

Vocabulary

Passenger pigeon: An extinct migratory bird (Ectopistes migratorius) abundant in eastern North America until the latter part of the 19th century.

The passenger pigeon was a species of pigeon that was once the most common bird in North America. They lived in enormous flocks and during migration it was possible to see flocks of them a mile wide and 300 miles long, taking several hours to pass, and containing up to a million birds. It is estimated that there was as many as five billion passenger pigeons in the United States at the time that Europeans arrived.

During the 19th century, the species went from being one of the most abundant birds in the world to extinction. Some reduction in numbers was the result of habitat loss when the Europeans started settling further inland. The primary factor relating to their extinction, however, was commercialization of pigeon as a cheap food for slaves and the poor, resulting in hunting on a massive scale. 'Martha,' thought to be the world's last passenger pigeon, died at 1PM on September 1, 1914, at the age of 29, in the Cincinnati Zoological Garden in Ohio. This may be the only animal species for which the exact day of extinction is known. For more information check out the Smithsonian website.

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