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

P3Symbol that indicates they are offering rewarding activities for visitors and volunteers interested in pursuing the themes of Project Passenger Pigeon. You can locate them, with a link to their websites, plus the full list of all participating organizations: here.



Passenger Pigeons in Your State, Province or Territory


(Compiled by Joel Greenberg and Garrie Landry)

Formerly an abundant transient and winter resident in eastern Oklahoma, irregular in the Arbuckles.  (M.M. Nice, Birds of Oklahoma, 1931)

Last Records of the Passenger Pigeon:

A bird was killed at Fort Holmes in January 1889 and several hundred passenger pigeons were sent to markets in Boston and New York over the course of December 1892 and January 1893.

Places Likely Named for Passenger Pigeon:

There are at least 6 places in Oklahoma with pigeon in the name:

Pigeon School (school, historical) in Cherokee County

Pigeon Roost Church (church) in Choctaw County and Seminole County

Pigeon Creek (stream) in Latimer County and Le Flore County

Pigeon Mountain (summit) in Le Flore County

Oklahoma Highlights

At Roden, in McCurtain County, a Caddo (Mississippian) site has yielded 14 passenger pigeon bones.

About the middle of November [1832] at Fort Gibson "a fall of snow, and two or three days' cold weather, were succeeded by a fine genial season;..., those countless bands of waterfowl, and flights of pigeons which had been constantly observed passing to the southward during the prevalence of the cold wind, ceased to attract the attention" (Latrobe in Nice)

"Pigeons are rarely to be found in this vicinity, but occasionally make their appearance in vast flocks, as was the case for a few days in the latter part of last December (1850). They were attracted hither by the mast or post-oak acorns.”  (Dr. Glisan writing of his time at Fort Arbuckle from 1850-54 in Nice).

"One of the largest pigeon roosts in the southwest in earlier days was in Going Snake District, in the Cherokee Nation, in a timbered canyon that debauched into Barren Fork, ten or twelve miles above the Junction of that stream with the Illinois River. At the head of this canyon was a spring called Alum Spring. A Cherokee citizen who lived near this roost said that when he was a boy 50 years ago [ca 1860], the number of pigeons that frequented the locality was beyond calculation. They swept across the sky in clouds, darkening the sun. At night their chattering swelled into a roar. Struggling for a place to alight, the birds dropped onto each other's backs in the greatest confusion. As their number and weight increased, the branches would bend until finally they broke with a loud snapping, and the fluttering pigeons went whirling into the air."  (Barde in Nice).

In 1881 the largest nesting of the year occurred in Pottawatomie County. This was extraordinary both because it was among the very last large gatherings of the species and it was well south of the ordinary nesting range. It was heavily exploited by professional hunters who had to haul the birds, both live and dead, over 100 miles to Atoka, where the railroad station was located.

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

Hahn does not list any institution within the state that has passenger pigeons. Schorger (1955) includes a photo of a
gorgeous male in the collection of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, but a curator informed me that they no longer have bird specimens.

* 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 Oklahoma

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 Oklahoma. [Schorger-OK.pdf]

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

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.

(Return to Home Page Map of Project Passenger Pigeon)