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Mark Catesby (1682-1749)

Passenger pigeon and turkey oak 1722-6

RCIN 924836

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The passenger pigeon was once one of the most numerous of birds. Catesby recorded that they migrated to Virginia and Carolina in ‘incredible numbers’ and that people would shoot them down from balconies and roof-tops. As the prairies of North America were diminished by settlements, the flocks declined dramatically. In 1914 the passenger pigeon became extinct when the last survivor of the species died in Cincinnati Zoo.