Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/248

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213
Nesting Habits of the Pigeon

tainly doubly difficult, and the tendency to count the same nests twice is increased.

The first nests that I found were in large white oak trees at the edge of a pond. The date was May 17, 1873. The nests were few in number and only one nest in a tree. There was but a single egg in a nest; in fact this is all I have found at any time. The last nest that I have met with south of the forty-third parallel was forty feet up in a tamarack tree in a swamp near the river, June 1, 1884. This nest was alone and would not have been discovered had not the birds flown to it. I have found several instances of pairs of pigeons building isolated nests, and cannot help but think that if all birds had followed this custom that the pigeons would still be with us in vast numbers.

As late as May 9, 1880, my lamented friend, the late C. W. Gunn, found a rookery in a cedar woods in Cheboygan County. These nests contained a single egg each, and he secured about fifty fresh eggs. He did not think their number excessive, as the netters were killing the birds in every direction. But now we can look upon such a trip almost as devastation because the birds are so scarce.

In 1885 I met with the pigeon on Mackinac Island, and have found a few isolated flocks in the Lower Peninsula since then, generally in the fall, but it is safe to say that the birds will never again appear in one-thousandth part of the number of former years.