Posted on 2009/03/09
The Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorious
Latin name translates: wandering migrator
Native North American dove. Closest remaining relative: the mourning dove, but the Passenger Pigeon was larger and more colorful
Total population once as many as 5 billion birds
Flew at sixty miles an hour
Traveled in huge flocks; as many as two billion birds. Flocks took days to pass
Hunted for food and fertilizer at the end of the nineteenth century. As many as 50,000 birds killed a day
Over hunting led to extinction despite late efforts to conserve the bird, including laws enacted by Congress
Most lived east of the Mississippi River
The last Passenger pigeon died in the Cincinnati Zoo September 1, 1914. Her name was Martha, after Martha Washington. She was 29.
Flock is a mural by ELKPEN, and part of a series highlighting wildlife in our shared urban environment. ELKPEN is an artist living in Los Angeles.