Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/156

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126
The Passenger Pigeon

as many as five hundred barrels have been shipped to New York and Boston in one day. Our commission man in New York wrote us that 100 barrels a day could be sold there without affecting the market but very little.

I was at a pigeon nesting in the State of Pennsylvania where there were from three to five hundred men catching pigeons and squabs. It was a great sight to see the birds going back and forth after food. When nesting in such large bodies, they leave the food in the near vicinity for their young. If they can find plenty of food, they nest in large bodies; if not, they scatter over the country and nest in scattered colonies.

The nesting I mentioned in Pennsylvania was within one mile of the cleared lands. We camped within two miles of the nesting. The pigeons kept up a continual roaring by their combined twittering and cooing, so that it could be heard for miles away by night as well as day.

Sometimes it is almost impossible to catch the pigeons. At the nesting mentioned the most experienced hands found it impossible to take large numbers. The whole crowd of men could not catch more than one man ought to have caught under the circumstances.

The young pigeons (squabs) were much sought after in New York and Boston, and if sent in moderate numbers brought big prices, usually about two dollars per dozen. When the squabs were old enough to market,