Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/91

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67
The Passenger Pigeon

each day. Nevertheless he believed that not one bird in a thousand was taken. Hawks and owls often abound near the nesting. Owls can be heard hooting there all night long. The cooper's hawk often catches the stool-pigeon. During the Petoskey season Mr. Stevens lost twelve stool birds in this way.

"There has been much dispute among writers and observers, beginning with Audubon and Wilson, and extending down to the present day, as to whether the wild pigeon has two eggs or one. I questioned Mr. Stevens closely on this point. He assured me that he had frequently found two eggs or two young in the same nest, but that fully half the nests which he had examined contained only one.

"Our personal experience with the pigeon in Michigan was as follows:

"During our stay at Cadillac we saw them daily, sometimes singly, usually in pairs, never more than two together. Nearly every large tract of old growth mixed woods seemed to contain at least one pair. They appeared to be settled for the season, and we were convinced that they were preparing to breed. In fact, the oviduct of a female, killed May 10, contained an egg nearly ready for the shell.

"At Oden we had a similar experience, although there were perhaps fewer pigeons there than about Cadillac.

"On May 24, Mr. Dwight settled any possible question as to their breeding in scattered pairs, by finding