Project Passenger Pigeon

Lessons from the Past for a Sustainable Future

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Passenger Pigeons in Your State, Province or Territory


(Compiled by Joel Greenberg and Garrie Landry)

The northern third or so of Florida was regularly visited during the winter by passenger pigeons, sometimes in large numbers

Last Records of the Passenger Pigeon:

In my searching the literature, Florida may be unique among states regularly visited by passenger pigeons in lacking any detailed information on late records.

Places Likely Named for Passenger Pigeon

There are at least 7 places in Florida with pigeon in the name. However, four of them are in Monroe County, well to the south of passenger pigeon range so they probably refer to something else. That leaves three:

Pigeon Creek (stream) in Bay County and Nassau County.

Pigeon Creek Church (church) in Nassau County.

Florida Highlights:

I am not aware of any archeological sites in Florida where passenger pigeon remains have been found.

"In the meane while there came unto our fort a flocke of stocke-doves in so great number, and that for the space of seven weeks together, that every day wee killed with harque-bush shot two hundred in the woods about our fort."  Rene Laudonniere describing his stay in Florida, 1567.

John Bartram reported seeing extensive flocks of passenger pigeons at Bryan’s Island at the northern end of Lake George during January 1766.

Southern Florida is the setting for Pulitzer Prize winning writer MacKinlay Kantor’s 1938 passenger pigeon novel The Noise of their Wings. (He is probably best known for the play Andersonville) A wealthy businessman who remembers the birds from his youth spends decades trying to locate surviving birds. His reward of $100,000 for a mated pair finally bears fruit when a hunter near “Woxahatchee” captures a male and female. But, alas, human affairs overwhelm the discovery which ends in the death of the pigeons.

Florida Locations Known to Have Passenger Pigeon Skins, Mounts, and or Skeletons:

Gainsville: Florida Museum of Natural History

Miami: *Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science

* 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 Florida

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 Florida. [Schorger-FL.pdf]

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

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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