Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/24

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The Passenger Pigeon

I remember calling my mother to a window early one morning and shouting: "See there! a flock of pigeons! Ah, ha! April fool!" This time I did not deceive her with the threadbare trick. The joke was "on me" for once. There was a flight of pigeons that morning, the first one of the season, and behind the foremost flock another and another came streaming. Away from the east side of the river at the north of the town, from near Crow Island, they swept like a cloud. Crossing the river to the west they reached the woods near Jerome's mill and skirted the clearings or passed in waves over the tree tops, back of John Winter's farm, and then wheeled to the south. Out of the tongue of woodland, just back of the Hermansau Church, they poured, thence over the fields, too high to be shot, and then away to the evergreens and stately pines of Pine Hill; on, on, on across the Tittabawassee, to some feeding ground we knew not how far away.

Now that the pigeons had come they would "fly" every morning. This we knew from years of observation in the great migration belt of Michigan. They would fly lower to-morrow morning, and in a day or two more sweep low enough for the sixteen-gauge and the number eight shot to reach them. Sometimes, even now, forty years after the last of the great passenger pigeon flights, I fall to day-dreaming and seem to hear myself saying in the eager, piping tones of those golden boyhood days: