Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/150

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The Passenger Pigeon

feeding mornings and evenings on the sprouted beech nuts under the leaves.

There would often be a third appearance in September, when I have seen buckwheat fields blue with them. Also fall-sowed wheat fields would be so covered with them that the farmer had to watch his fields to save the seed he had sowed.

During the spring and also the fall visit, flocks searching for feeding ground could be called down from flight and induced to light on trees near where the call was sounded. The call was one in imitation of the pigeon's own call, given either as a peculiar throat sound (liable to make the throat sore if too often repeated) or with a silk band between two blocks of wood, like this

The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon (p120 cropped).png

held between the lips and teeth and blown like a blade of grass between the thumbs. By biting or pressing with the teeth at (A) (A) the tension upon the silk band would be increased, raising the tone of the call or relaxing for a lower note. Cleverly used, it was very successful in calling pigeons feeding in small flocks to alight.