It is estimated that there were 3 billion to 5 billion passenger pigeons at the time Europeans discovered America.
It is believed that this species once constituted 25 to 40 per cent of the total bird population of the United States.
Flocks formed avian clouds across eastern North America, obstructing sunlight for days.
The exact mechanism of extinction is unknown.
> birds mostly ate a highly specialized diet of tree nuts such as acorns, they died off when forested habitats they devoured were cut down by humans.
> humans killing the birds for sport and to feed growing urban populations.
- It was not possible to reestablish the species with a few captive birds.
- The small captive flocks weakened and died.
- The passenger pigeon was a colonial and gregarious bird and needed large numbers for optimum breeding conditions.
- The last known individual of the passenger pigeon species was “Martha” (named after Martha Washington). She died at the Cincinnati Zoological Garden, and was donated to the Smithsonian Institution, where her body was once mounted in a display case with this notation:
Last of her species, died at 1 p.m.,
1 September 1914, age 29, in the
Cincinnati Zoological Garden.
Revive and restore Working on a project for successfully returning the species to the wild.