(Notes by the Allen Brothers, Joseph and Isaac, of Manchester, Mich. A copy of their letter was received through kindness of L. Whitney Watkins, of Matichester, Mich.)
We have had about fifty years' experience in the business [pigeon catching], as we used to help our father as long ago as we can recollect, he being one of the best pigeoners in his day, working a great deal at the business in the summer season. Until we were twenty years old we lived on the shores of Lake Ontario in Wayne County, N. Y.
The pigeons used to have a flying course along the shore of the lake on their way to the Montezuma marshes after salt. Pigeons are very fond of salt, or, rather, brine. It seems to be a necessary article for them. Their course was generally from west to east. They seldom flew west by the same route. How far they came, we could not tell; perhaps from this State or perhaps farther west. Sometimes they would go west by the same route. If so, they were much easier to catch than when going east. When going east they were looking for salt; when west, for food.
They used to commence to fly about the ist of April and keep it up until the middle of June. After that time they would scatter over the country, and did not fly in large flocks as in the spring.