Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/167

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The Passenger Pigeon

from Indian Territory, so I think the netters finally cleaned up what was left of the big flight that perished from the sleet and fog at their last nesting in Michigan, near Petoskey, in 1881.

Their nests were built and eggs laid in late April. A big wind and storm of sleet came up just at dusk and the birds left; there was a big fog on Lake Michigan, and the birds were swallowed up by the storm; anyhow they disappeared then and there. I have heard tell of the beach being strewn for miles with dead pigeons, and I heard an old woodsman tell of the stench arising from dead pigeons in the woods.

It was that storm of ice that surely wiped them out.

I was at Petoskey in 1882, and no pigeons showed up that year.

What a host of memories of boyhood days are recalled, when one thinks of the wild pigeons. I can see myself a boy again, equipped with a long, single barrel shot gun, shot pouch and powder flask a-dangling, a box of G.D. caps in my pocket, and I a-sneakin' and a-sneakin' up for a shot at an old cock pigeon perched away up on a dead limb at the top of a tall tree. How handsome is that old cock with neck outstretched and tail a-streamin', the richness of his coloring, the red of the breast, the metallic sheen of that outstretched neck is of marvelous luster as bathed in the glories of the morning sunlight. He turns his head! He is onto that boy who is sneaking so carefully along the old