Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/219

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The Pigeon in Manitoba[1]

By George E. Atkinson

WHILE the biological history of any country records the decrease and disappearance of many forms of life due to just or unjust circumstances, it remains for the historical records of North America to reveal a career of human selfishness which may be considered the paragon. Within four centuries of North American civilization (or modified barbarism) we can be credited with the wiping into the past of at least three species of animal life originally so phenomenally abundant and so strikingly characteristic in themselves as to evoke the wonder and amazement of the entire world. And, sad to relate, so effectual has been the extermination, that it is doubtful if our descendants a few generations hence will be able to learn anything whatever about them save through the medium of books. While herein again we shall be just subjects of their censure for having manifestly failed

  1. This paper was read at a meeting of the Manitoba Historical and Scientific Society at Winnepeg in 1905, by the author, a naturalist, residing at Portage la Prairie.