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)

Edward Howe Forbush in his classic Birds of Massachusetts and New England summarizes the status of the species as being “an abundant migrant and common local to abundant local summer resident in all of the New England states.”

Last Record of the Passenger Pigeon:
There does not seem to be a definitive last record, with birds being reported into the late 1890s and even 1900: a few were said to have bred in 1898. But these sightings have been doubted as they lack details and no collaborating specimen seems to exist.

Places Likely Named for Passenger Pigeon:
There is at least one place in Vermont with pigeon in the name:

Pigeon Pond (lake) in Caledonia County.

Vermont Highlights:

“The number of pigeons [at Clarendon] was immense . . . For an hundred acres together, the ground was covered with their dung, to the dept of two inches. Their noise in the evening was extremely troublesome, and so great that the traveler could not get any sleep, where their nests were thick. About two hours after sunrise, they rose in such numbers as to darken the air.” William Samuel, The Natural and Civil History of Vermont, 1794.

Zadock Thompson, History of Vermont (1842), says that the species bred widely in the state but they have decreased of late, although they still on occasion “appear in large numbers.”

From at least 1848 to 1853, a nesting site occupied twenty acres of virgin maple and yellow birch in the towns of Stowe and Hyde Park in the northern part of the state. Trees often held in excess of twenty-five nests. Forbush goes on with the story provided him by eye-witness Clayton Stone: “Most of the time during the nesting season large flocks of these birds could be seen coming and going in all direction to and from the nests. The people from this and neighboring towns went to the place with their teams to take up the squabs that had fallen to the ground; they took them away by cartloads. The squabs were distributed free, to be used as food by all their friends and neighbors. . . In 1848 Mr. Stone . . . sprung a net over 528 birds at one cast. Pigeons were abundant in that locality until the fall of 1865, when a man could shoot in half a day all that he could use.”

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

Greensboro: Greensboro Grade School (fide Mary Beth Prondzinski)

Huntington: *Birds of Vermont Museum

St. Johnsbury: *Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium

Swanton: *Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge

* 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 Vermont

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 Vermont. [Schorger-VT.pdf]

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

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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