Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/130

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102
The Passenger Pigeon

or half-orphans are cared for. It is rare, however, for both old birds to be caught or killed, since the toms and hens when nesting always fly separately, and the chance of both the parents of the squab falling a "victim to Mammon," particularly in a large nesting, is small. As proof of the pigeons feeding squabs indiscriminately, I may mention that one of the men in my employ this year, at the Shelby nesting in 1876, in one afternoon shot and killed six hen pigeons that came to feed the one squab in the same nest.

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Why, Prof. Roney, the catch went on all the same, your party made no difference of note, but the weather was rough and somewhat stormy; the birds didn't "stool" well, and during the days mentioned the catch was very small, hence the decrease in shipments. Now, regarding the law, it is well enough as it is; one shotgun near a nesting is more destructive than a dozen nets; the report of the gun causes the birds to rise in thousands, and, when repeated, to leave in a body, regardless of nest or squab, and never to return; as an example, may be mentioned, the Minnesota nesting of 1877, when the birds were driven entirely away.

The net is silent; its work occasions no alarm; it makes no cripples, consequently it can be admitted nearer to the nests than its more noisy partner. Protect the pigeons entirely, and a law forbidding catching dur-