"Men still live who, in their youth, remember pigeons; trees still live who, in their youth, were shaken by a living wind. But a few decades hence only the oldest oaks will remember, and at long last only the hills will know."
--Aldo Leopold, "On a Monument to the Pigeon," 1947
A woodblock engraving of passenger pigeons
in flight in Louisiana. From "The Illustrated Shooting
and Dramatic News," July 3, 1875
(via Lake County History)
Exactly 100 years ago, on September 1, 1914, at 1:00pm, the passenger pigeon became extinct. The last of these once commonly seen birds was named Martha and she died at the Cincinatti Zoo 100 years ago today.
This bird, which was once ubiquitous -- and whose flocks were said to darken the sky due to their number -- went from being the most numerous of any bird in North America (and possibly the world) to completely extinct in a matter of decades.
Read more about why the passenger pigeon went extinct.