Project Passenger Pigeon

Lessons from the Past for a Sustainable Future

View the full list of P3 Participating Organizations
by State, Province, Territory or City.

There are now organizations
this State, Province or Territory who are displaying the symbol

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Passenger Pigeons in Your State, Province or Territory


(Compiled by Joel Greenberg and Garrie Landry)

The state hosted vast numbers of birds in all seasons, save late spring and summer.

Last Records of the Passenger Pigeon:
The last specimen was collected by Edward Pasteur of Greensboro in winter of 1887.

Places Likely Named for the Passenger Pigeon:
There are at least 17 places in Alabama with pigeon in the name:

Pigeon Creek Post Office (historical) in Butler County.

Pigeon Creek (populated place) in Butler County

Pigeon Creek Swamp (swamp) in Butler County

Pigeon Creek Lookout Tower (tower) in Butler County

Pigeon Roost Creek (stream) in Chamber’s County, Cullman County, Marshall County

Pigeon Creek (stream) in Clarke County, Conecuh County, Jackson County

Pigeon Creek Church (church) in Covington County

Pigeonroost Creek (stream) in Elmore County

Pigeon Pond (lake) in Geneva County

Pigeon Branch (stream) in Lauderdale County

Pigeon Creek Bar (sandbar) in Monroe County

Pigeonfield Cemetery (cemetery) in Wilcox County

Pigeon Roost Branch (stream) in Winston County

Alabama Highlights:

At least nine archeological sites in Alabama have yielded passenger pigeon remains ranging from the Pleistocene aged Bell Cave to several of the Mississippian period. Thirteen passenger pigeon bones have been found at the Moundville Archeological site, located on the Black Warrior River near Tuscaloosa. It was the political and ceremonial center used by people of Mississippian culture and was active during the period from 1000 to 1500 AD. The site, maintained by the University of Alabama museums, covers 172 acres and is a National Historic Landmark.

During that fall immense flocks of thousands and millions of birds were seen passing every evening and morning to and from their roosting place near Courtland. From about four o clock until after dark was the time for the evening flight, and during that time not five minutes elapsed that a flock could not be seen in some direction. It was a common thing to see flocks extending as far as the eye could reach from west to east and passing thus for half an hour at a time. During the day & shy-time scattered flocks could be found everywhere in the woods. And large numbers of them were killed. . .and at night parties often went to their roost and killed wagon loads of them. Since that year I have not seen a pigeon. McCormack describing a huge roost near Courtland in Colbert County in the fall of 1881 in Howell, Birds of Alabama, (1924)

Once countless thousands came in winter to feed upon the mast of our forests. Not one to my knowledge has been seen since the winter of 1887, when Mr. Edward Pasteur, of Greensboro, shot a single specimen in the corporate limits of the town. This bird was not accompanied by any other of his species. William Avery (1921).

Alabama Locations known to have Passenger Pigeon Skins, Mounts, and or Skeletons:

Anniston: Anniston Museum of Natural History

* If an asterisk appears, at least one passenger pigeon is known to be on display; this list is mainly based on Hahn's Where is That Vanished Bird (1963). Please let us know of any changes including additional locations and/or birds on display, name changes of institution, if birds are no longer present, etc.

Read Fascinating Historical Accounts of the Passenger Pigeon in Alabama

Wisconsin’s A.W. [Bill] Schorger (1884-1972) spent many years researching the history of the Passenger Pigeon, and he summarized his findings in his 1955 book, The Passenger Pigeon: Its Natural History and Extinction. At the time of its publication, the book was the most comprehensive account of the species. Schorger did an excellent job summarizing the nearly 10,000 historical records he discovered in libraries and historical societies around the country, but his original research notes contain many additional details.
For the 2014 centennial, Professor Stanley Temple of the University of Wisconsin-Madison has made all Schorger’s handwritten research notes available in digital form. This link will take you to a table that provides details of all the historical records Bill Schorger discovered for Alabama. [Schorger-AL.pdf]

Read Historical Accounts from Shorger's Original Field Notes about the Passenger Pigeon in Alabama

These sources are newly available on the Passenger Pigeon site (as of January 25, 2014). The links below give access to often-firsthand, eyewitness accounts of pigeons, the table includes a cross reference to the exact page in Schorger’s notes where you can read the full text of the account and find a citation of the original source document. All these historical documents are in PDF format in sizes ranging from 24mb - 60mb. These documents will open in their own window. Use the links below to find the page containing the account you’re interested in exploring further:
Schorger pages 1-329
Schorger pages 330-632
Schorger pages 633-959
Schorger pages 960-1242
Schorger pages 1243-1585
Schorger pages 1586-1890
Schorger pages 1891-2232
Schorger pages 2233-2556


Your text contributions on passenger pigeons in the U.S. or Canada are welcome. Email your text notes to us. Include: first and last name, and the State or Province you reference in the Subject Line.

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