Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/211

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The Passenger Pigeon

There is a single Cuban record, but the occurrence was purely accidental. The migrations of the Passenger Pigeon were wholly different in their character from those of true emigrants, that is to say, they were influenced or controlled purely by the matter of food supply, as in the case of the robin and some other birds, and the flights were as often from west to east and vice versa as from south to north or north to south; in short, the flocks moved about in various directions in their search for food or nesting places. For myself, I do not believe in the story of drowning in the Gulf of Mexico for two reasons. In the first place the birds are extremely unlikely to have been there, a hurricane from the northward being absolutely necessary to explain their presence in that quarter, and, in the second place, no such explanation is needed in view of what is known to be the facts concerning their wholesale destruction by human agency alone.

The range of the Passenger Pigeon was limited to the mixed hardwood forest region of the eastern United States and Canada, and any that occurred beyond were stragglers, pure and simple. Consequently it was not found, except as stragglers, in the long-leaf pine belt of the Gulf Coast, but only on the uplands from northern or middle Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, northward.