Home > biodiversity, biology, wildlife > Smithsonian museum to display last passenger pigeon

Smithsonian museum to display last passenger pigeon

As the one hundredth anniversary of the passenger pigeon’s extinction approaches, the National Museum of Natural History is giving Americans the chance to see the last individual of the species.

The stuffed remains of Martha, who died at the Cincinnati Zoo on Sept. 1, 1914, will be posed on a branch for the display.

Passenger pigeons once numbered in the billions. At one time it was the most abundant bird on Earth and accounted for at least one quarter of all individual birds in North America.

Ectopistes migratorius was a fast flyer. One scientist estimated in 2002 that the bird could travel at a velocity exceeding 60 miles per hour. Passenger pigeons could also travel long distances, migrating in huge flocks that routinely numbered in the millions or more.

The display at the Smithsonian Institution museum in Washington, DC will also include specimens of the heath hen and the great auk, other notable examples of bird species driven to extinction by humanity.

This website provides information about the exhibition, entitled Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America.

Categories: biodiversity, biology, wildlife
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