Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/123

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The Pigeon Butcher's Defence

each hatching taking four weeks, from the beginning of nest building to the time the old birds leave the young. It is true, however, that birds were shipped from Petoskey the middle of August, but they were birds belonging to me that I was holding there for a market, my Chicago pens being full. Every bird of them had been in my possession for a month previous, and many for six weeks. So the actual pigeon business lasted not five months, as Prof. Roney says, but about three; part of which time the total catch was not fifty dozen per day.

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They (Prof. Roney et al.) came to Petoskey with a great flourish of trumpets, hired expensive livery rigs to ride around the country in, made one or two arrests, secured one conviction by default, were defeated in every case that came to trial, had one of the party play the role of "terrible example" in the trout case, and then went home, and in the face of the fact that they had eaten, or known of having been eaten, hundreds of pigeons, and of the certainty that the report was false, had published in the Saginaw paper a report that the pigeons then being caught in Michigan were feeding on poisoned berries, and the using them for food had caused much sickness, and in one or two instances loss of life.

This was not only published in the home papers, but was telegraphed to New York, Boston, Chicago, St.