Project Passenger Pigeon

Lessons from the Past for a Sustainable Future

RidgewayRobert Ridgeway, the ornithologist who collected
the only passenger pigeon specimen known from


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Passenger Pigeons in Your State, Province or Territory


(Compiled by Bill Whan and edited by Joel Greenberg)

Passenger Pigeons once ranged far and wide over the deciduous forests of Eastern North America. Being expert flyers, the birds were noted as accidental or causal visitors far from their normal range, especially in winter. In The Life Histories of North American Birds (1892), author Charles Bendire notes Passenger Pigeons as “casual” to Nevada.  Ornithologist Dr. Robert Ridgway participated in bird studies of the American West as part of the U.S. Geological Survey. In 1867 he was appointed, at the young age of 16, to serve as zoologist on an expedition that explored the Great Basin near the 40th Parallel. The expedition saw (and shot) a single specimen of this species. In his report, Ridgway noted:

“Only a stray individual of this species was met with by us, and it cannot be considered as more than an occasional straggler in the country west of the Rocky Mountains. The specimen obtained flew rapidly past one morning, and alighted a short distance from us, upon a stick by the edge of a stream, whither it had probably come for water. Upon dissection it was found to have been feeding upon the berries of a small cornel (Cornus pubescens), which grew abundantly in the mountains.” The specimen was a juvenile female, collected at Camp 18 in the West Humbolt Mountains, Nevada on September 10, 1867.

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

Carson City: *Nevada State Museum

* 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.


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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