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A Further Chronicle of the Passenger Pigeon and of Methods Employed in Hunting It

Annie M. Alexander
Publication Information
6 (November-December)
From Field and Study

A Further Chronicle of the Passenger Pigeon and of Methods Employed in Hunting It

The following extract from a letter written by Mr. John Thomas Waterhouse to his parents, the Reverend and Mrs. John Waterhouse, in London, from Camp Gaugh, Franklin Township, Burgen County, New Jersey, dated, March 23, 1838, may be of interest as adding to our knowledge of the Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius): The account is quoted verbatim.

“For the last fortnight the air has been almost black with wild pigeons emigrating from the Carolina swamps to more northerly latitudes making their summer quarters in the lake countries. Within ten miles square during the last fortnight I suppose they have shot or netted at least twenty thousand. They fix up a kind of hut in a field made of limbs of trees and buckwheat stubble. They have one or two fliers which they throw out every time a flock passes; the fliers are of the wild pigeon breed usually wintered over or sometimes they take them direct from the flocks, tie their legs to a small pi&e of twine and throw them up. There is a floor cleared on the ground and buckwheat spread for a bait and [they] have a pigeon on the floor and also a stool pigeon which they move at pleasure by a rope fixed to it in the hut. There is then a net so fixed having a rope that fastens it to a stake in the ground at one end, and soon as ever the pigeons fly down the man in the hut pulls another rope fastened to the net and jerks it over them. They will sometimes net in this way at one haul three or four hundred. Whilst I am writing they are in the adjoining room picking seven pigeons for our breakfast. They were shot this morning at one fire of the gun.“

Annie M. Alexander

Honolulu, T. H., August 19, 1927

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