Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/88

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The Passenger Pigeon

singly or in small parties in the woods. Such stragglers attract little attention, and no one attempts to net them, although many are shot.

"The largest nesting he ever visited was in 1876 or 1877. It began near Petoskey, and extended northeast past Crooked Lake for 28 miles, averaging 3 or 4 miles wide. The birds arrived in two separate bodies, one directly from the south by land, the other following the east coast of Wisconsin, and crossing at Manitou Island. He saw the latter body come in from the lake at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon. It was a compact mass of pigeons, at least 5 miles long by 1 mile wide. The birds began building when the snow was 12 inches deep in the woods, although the fields were bare at the time. So rapidly did the colony extend its boundaries that it soon passed literally over and around the place where he was netting, although when he began, this point was several miles from the nearest nest. Nestings usually start in deciduous woods, but during their progress the pigeons do not skip any kind of trees they encounter. The Petoskey nesting extended 8 miles through hardwood timber, then crossed a river bottom wooded with arborvitæ, and thence stretched through white pine woods about 20 miles. For the entire distance of 28 miles every tree of any size had more or less nests, and many trees were filled with them. None were lower than about 1 5 feet above the ground.

"Pigeons are very noisy when building. They make