Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/199

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The Passenger Pigeon

we started from home, we could hear the sullen roar of that myriad of birds, and the sound increased in volume as we approached the roost, till it became as the roar of the breakers upon the beach.

As we approached the swamp where the birds roosted, a few scattered birds were frightened from the roost along the edge of the swamp. These scattering birds we could not shoot, but kept advancing further into the swamp. As we approached this vast body of birds, which bent the alders flat to the ground, we could see every now and then ahead of us a small pyramid which looked like a haystack in the darkness, and as we approached what appeared to be this haystack, the frightened birds would fly from the bended alders, and we would find ourselves standing in the midst of a diminutive forest of small trees of alders and willows.

We now found these apparent haystacks were only small elms or willows completely loaded down with live birds. My brother suggested that I shoot at the next "haystack." So we advanced along very carefully among the now upright alders till we came to where it was a perfect roar of voices and wings, and just ahead of us we saw one of those mysterious objects which so resembled a haystack.

My brother suggested that I aim at the center of it and let the old horse pistol go. I instantly obeyed his suggestion, pointing as best I could in the dim light at the center of that form, and pulled. There was a flash