Project Passenger Pigeon

Lessons from the Past for a Sustainable Future

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Passenger Pigeons in Your State, Province or Territory


WASHINGTON

(Compiled by Joel Greenberg)

Although geographically close to historical passenger pigeon records from British Columbia, Washington has no confirmed records. Nor are any known from the archeological record. But this discussion in  Birds of Washington State by Jewett et al (1953) is of interest: "There is little doubt that the passenger pigeon formerly occurred, at least in small numbers, in northern or, perhaps more accurately, northeastern Washington. Cooper (1869: 80-81) reports that Lt. A. V. Kautz shot a pair at Spokane Falls. The same author (1870: 511) records the species from Puget Sound. Rhoads (1891: 510-12) refers to large numbers seen by Caleb Cope on an extensive prairie in Pierce County, 15 miles east of Puget Sound, but it is not improbable that these records pertain to the band-tailed pigeon."

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

Seattle: Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, University of Washington

Seattle: Private collection

Tacoma: Slater Museum of Natural History, University of Puget Sound

* 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 Washington

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 Washington. [Schorger-WA.pdf]

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

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

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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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