Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/204

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171
What Became of the Wild Pigeon?

nesting. In five or ten days the young birds will follow in the direction of the old birds.

When the young birds first come off the nest and commence feeding on the ground, they are fat as balls of butter, but in ten days from this time, when they start on their northern flight to follow their mother bird, they are poor as snakes, and almost unfit to eat, while, when they first leave the nest they are the most palatable morsel man ever tasted. However, in about forty days from the time they began nesting to the time they took their northern flight, there were shipped from Hartford and vicinity, three carloads a day of these beautiful meteors of the sky. Each car containing 150 barrels with 35 dozen in a barrel, making the daily shipment 24,750 dozen.

Young men who are now hunting for something to shoot and wondering what has become of our game, must hear with anger and regret such reports as this from western Michigan in the days gone by: "In three years' time there were caught and shipped to New York and other eastern cities 990,000 dozen pigeons, and in the two succeeding years it was estimated by the same men who caught the pigeons at Hartford that there were one-third more shipped from Shelby than from Hartford; and from Petoskey, Emmett County, two years later, it is now claimed by C. H. Engle, a resident of this town, who was a participant in this ungodly slaughter, that there were shipped five carloads a day