Project Passenger Pigeon

Lessons from the Past for a Sustainable Future

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moundEtowah Mound B, Georgia, Mississippian Civilization

Passenger Pigeons in Your State, Province or Territory


(Compiled by Joel Greenberg and Garrie Landry)

Abundant winter resident throughout most of the state.

Last Records of the Passenger Pigeon:

George Jackson shot a passenger pigeon in Richmond County on September12, 1893, which later became part of the Henry Hillyer Collection. Unfortunately, all of these specimens were lost in the fire that consumed University of Georgia’s  Science Hall, the building that housed the collection.

Places Likely Named for Passenger Pigeon

There are at least 16 places in Georgia with pigeon in the name:

Pigeon Island (island) in Chatham County

Pigeon Bay (bay) in Clinch County

Pigeon Hill (summit) in Cobb County

Pigeon Creek (stream) in Dawson County, Fannin County, and Meriwether County

Pigeon Branch (swamp) in Glynn County

Pigeon (stream) in Habersham County

Pigeon Mountain (summit) in Habersham County, two in Rabun County, and Walker County

Pigeon Roost Creek (stream) in Lumpkin County

Pigeon Roost (summit) in Lumpkin County

Pigeon Ford (crossing) in Tattnall County

Pigeonroost Creek (stream) in Wayne County

Georgia Highlights

The Etowah mounds are a group of large rammed earth mounds located on the Etowah River in northwestern Georgia in the southeastern United States. It was inhabited by people of the Mississippian Culture. Etowah includes six major mounds, all built about AD 950 and abandoned by about 1600. The three sides of the Etowah group facing away from the river are surrounded by a large fortification ditch which once enclosed an area of 22 hectares and contained a palisade line. Over 50 passenger pigeon bones have been found here. Etowah is owned and managed by the State of Georgia, and open for visitors. ( Archeology and H.E. Jackson, Engaged Anthropology (2005, ed. by Hegmon and Beiselt)

“When it is very cold weather in the northern parts of America, here are vast flights of wild pigeons, which are very easy to shoot.” A description of Georgia in The History of North America (1776)

Eugene E. Murphey states that they came "in fair but steadily diminishing numbers until the winter of 1884-1885 when a sharp drop in their numbers was observed." Earle Greene et al, Birds of Georgia (1945)

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

Atlanta: *The Georgia Capitol Museum

Read Fascinating Historical Accounts of the Passenger Pigeon in Georgia

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 Georgia. [Schorger-GA.pdf]

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

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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