Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/136

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The Passenger Pigeon

from Black Lake in crates holding six dozen each. All of these crates were made by hand by one E. Osborn, who was then one of the traveling pigeon catchers, the firm being Osborn & Thompson, well known by all men who traveled then. From that time I have handled live pigeons in quantities up to 175,000 per year until they left the country. The last nesting in Michigan was up on Crooked Lake near Petoskey in 1878, I believe, from which I shipped 150,000.

In 1866, they nested in the town of Vassar, Tiscola County, Mich., and usually each alternate year, as the mast crop was every second season, beech nuts being their choice food. The other years they nested in Wisconsin on acorns, or in Minnesota, feeding on spring wheat. New York sometimes held them, and Pennsylvania often, for a nesting; but being a hard place they never caught many there, Michigan being the favorite trapping ground. 1874 there was a nesting at Shelby, Oceana County, Mich., on which it was estimated they made the heaviest catches I have ever known of: 100 barrels daily on an average of thirty days of dead birds, besides the live ones, of which I shipped 175,000.

There were five nestings that year in the State, three going on at the same time, but all not heavily worked. That year I shipped by the steamer Fountain City, from Frankfort, 478 coops, six dozen each, one shipment going to Oswego, N. Y., for the Leather Stocking Club Tournament.