Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/245

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The Passenger Pigeon

have been the principal means of destruction, but it is almost fair to assert that even with the net and gun under proper restrictions, the pigeon would still be with us in hordes, both spring and autumn. For many years hunters (butchers) used to shoot the birds regularly at their nesting places, while the netters were also found near at hand.

I have seen many birds taken, by unsportsmanlike netters, for the market during spring migrations, and the published accounts of the destruction by netters is almost beyond belief. Doctor Kirtland states that near Circleville, Ohio, in 1850, there were taken in a single net in one day 1,285 live pigeons.

The Passenger Pigeon was in the habit of crossing the Ohio River by March 1 in the spring migrations, and I have noted the birds several times in Michigan in February. But this was not usually the case, for the birds were not abundant generally before April 1, although no set rule could be laid down regarding their appearance or departure either in spring or fall. They usually came with a mighty rush. Sometimes they did not appear, or, at least, only very sparingly. Their nesting sites would remain the same for years if the birds were unmolested, but they generally had to change every year or two, or as soon as the roost was discovered by the despicable market netter.

Where the mighty numbers went to when they left for the south is not accurately stated, and, of course, this