Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/164

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133
Recollections of "Old Timers"

years the wild pigeon flew south on both sides of the North River by the thousands in the fall, and in lesser numbers flew north in the spring.

He also wrote: "These migrations occurred with the utmost regularity. The first easterly storm after September 1st, clearing up with a strong northwest wind, was as surely followed by a flight of wild pigeons as the sun was to rise. During such storms, I have passed many a sleepless night watching to catch the first change of wind, and when it veered northwest, daybreak found me on the river bank watching for the flight that never failed. Ah! how my heart jumped as flock after flock of wild pigeons came flying over Fort Washington like small clouds. I have shot a great many of them, but alas, like the buffalo, they are almost exterminated."

I have run across what was evidently my first diary, dated 1872, when I was fourteen years old. I make the following extracts from it:

April 6th. "Pigeon flew this morning."

Then on April 8th I mention 9 pigeons shot in the afternoon by my father, and say "they flew very thick in the morning."

The record, like most boys' diaries, seems to have many skips, for the next item about pigeons is on the 11th of May, saying that I shot 2 that day and on the 1st of June I mention that I killed 3 pigeons in the morning, "the most I ever have shot at one time."

My marksmanship seems to have improved after that,