Page:The Passenger Pigeon - Mershon.djvu/98

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CHAPTER VII

Netting the Pigeons

By William Brewster, from "The Auk," a Quarterly Journal of Ornithology, October, 1889.

IN the spring of 1888 my friend, Captain Bendire, wrote to me that he had received news from a correspondent in central Michigan to the effect that wild pigeons had arrived there in large numbers and were preparing to nest. Acting on this information I started at once, in company with Mr. Jonathan Dwight, Jr., to visit the expected "nesting" and learn as much as possible about the habits of the breeding birds, as well as to secure specimens of their skins and eggs.

. . . Pigeon netting in Michigan is conducted as follows: Each netter has three beds; at least two, and sometimes as many as ten "strikes" are made on a single bed in one day, but the bed is often allowed to "rest" for a day or two. Forty or fifty dozen birds are a good haul for one "strike." Often only ten or twelve dozen are taken. Mr. Stevens' highest "catch" is eighty-six dozen, but once he saw one hundred and six dozen captured at a single "strike." If too large a number are on the bed, they will sometimes raise the net bodily and