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Passenger Pigeons / Passenger Pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius)

At one time Michigan was a favorite nesting ground for the passenger pigeons. Vast quantities of beechnuts and other food attracted them. Each spring immense flocks arrived, literally darkening the skies hours at a time as they flew over. Here at Crooked Lake a nesting in 1878 covered ninety square miles. Millions of birds were killed, packed in barrels, and shipped from Petoskey. Such wanton slaughter helped to make the pigeon extinct by 1914. The conservationist’s voice was heard too late.At one time North America’s most numerous bird, the passenger pigeon was particularly abundant in the Upper Mississippi Valley. The mature male was about sixteen inches long. Less colorful and big was the female. In 1914 the last known survivor of the species died.

Plaque via Michigan History Center

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