The story of the Passenger Pigeon is difficult. This is a species that has gone extinct in modern times, due to rapid loss of habitat and excessive hunting, among other factors. The Passenger Pigeon population was once possibly as high as five billion birds, making it the most numerous bird on the planet.
Early European settlers were amazed at the unbelievably huge flocks of Passenger Pigeons that would fly during migration. Groups of millions of birds would darken the sky; a single flock could take hours to pass by with pigeons flying in tiers several birds thick.
2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the death of the last Passenger Pigeon, a captive bird named Martha who died at the Cincinnati Zoo on September 1st. Learn more about the loss of this species and what we can learn from the story of the Passenger Pigeon by visiting Project Passenger Pigeon.