Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/222

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189
The Pigeon in Manitoba

yond the possibility of a return in any numbers. When a few years later reports are made that pigeons still exist and are again increasing, scientific investigation shows that the mourning dove has been mistaken for the pigeon or that the band-tailed pigeon of California is taken for the old Passenger Pigeon, and so we have continued since the early nineties investigating rumors of their appearance from all over America, north and south, and the West India Islands, but all reports point us to the past for the pigeon and some other species under suspicion. . . . I doubt very much if the historian desirous of compiling any historical work would find himself confronted with such a decided blank in historical records during an important period as that confronted in the compilation of a historical record of the Passenger Pigeon within any district which it formerly frequented during the period from about 1870, when the decline was first noticed, to 1890, when the birds had practically passed away.

In this matter, Mr. J. H. Fleming of Toronto, in writing me, says: "The pigeons seem to have gone off like dynamite. Nobody expected it and nobody prepared a series of skins"; and to this I can add that no one seems to have made any series of records of the birds from year to year. Since their disappearance, however, things have changed: everybody is alert for pigeons, and everybody has a theory; but beyond offering subject of social conversation, or awakening a re-