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)

The early historical record makes it clear that the bird often roosted and migrated through the state in abundance. One early date of spring arrival is April 18 at Raleigh.

Last Records of the Passenger Pigeon:
An observation in pine woods near Raleigh on April 18, 1891 and a specimen taken in Buncombe County on October 20, 1894 provide the last occasions the bird is known to have occupied North Carolina.

Places Likely Named for Passenger Pigeon:
There are at least 12 places in North Carolina with pigeon in the name:

Pigeon Township in Haywood County.

There are two Pigeon Gaps (gap) in Haywood County.

Pigeonroost (populated place) in Mitchell County.

Pigeonroost Creek (stream) in Mitchell County, Warren County, Wautoga County,

Pigeon Bay (swamp) in Robeson County .

Pigeon Mountain (rise) in Rutherford County.

There are two Pigeon Creeks (stream) in Swain County.

Pigeon Branch (stream) in Transylvania County.

Pigeon House Branch (stream) may well not be named for passenger pigeons.

North Carolina Highlights
Town Creek Indian Mound in Mt. Giliad has yielded 63 passenger pigeon bone fragments representing a minimum of 7 individuals. This site dates back to the Late Woodland Period (1000-1400 AD) and was occupied by people of the Pee Dee Culture. It is a North Carolina Historic Site and opened to the public. It is here that the first formal excavations were organized and launched by North Carolina archaeologists.

“[W]e went to shoot pigeons which were so numerous in these parts that you might see many millions in a flock; they sometimes split off the limbs of stout oaks and other trees upon which they roost of nights. . . You must understand that these birds do not breed amongst us but come down (especially in hard winters) amongst the inhabitants in great flocks.” John Lawson writing about the early 1700s near Sapona, Davidson County.

“Dr. K.P. Battle of Raleigh,, a careful observer of birds, states that when at Bingham School between 1871 and 1872 he saw a flock about a mile in width.” T. Gilbert Pearson, Birds of North Carolina, 1919.

North Carolina Locations Known to Have Passenger Pigeon Skins, Mounts, and or Skeletons

Raleigh: *North Carolina 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.

Read Fascinating Historical Accounts of the Passenger Pigeon in North Carolina

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 North Carolina. [Schorger-NC.pdf]

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

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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