Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/208

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175
A Novel Theory of Extinction

that place, and that their bodies covered the shore in "windrows."

Not more than two years ago, if so long, I read a lengthy and signed account in a Montreal paper of a similar catastrophe to a great flight of pigeons in attempting to cross Lake Michigan, and similar statement was made that for miles the beach above Milwaukee was heaped and piled with "windrows" of dead pigeons.

Within two or three years several accounts have reached us, bearing every mark of believability, that considerable flights of geese, swans and ducks have been drowned in the surf off the New Jersey and Maryland shores. These flights of birds have been overwhelmed in a sudden storm or gale of wind, which beat them down into the surf where they were drowned, their bodies drifting about, and some of them being thrown up on the shore.

These accounts have come from fishermen, sportsmen and others, and I see no reason whatever to doubt that a flight of birds of any species known could easily be destroyed if caught off shore in some of the wind storms of which we have so many instances. I have frequently in Forest and Stream propounded my theory and asked for information about it before it became too late. The whole theory stands or falls, as it seems to me, with the ascertainment of the southern limit of the migration of the great pigeon flight. If the birds did not cross the Gulf of Mexico there is far