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A Note on Passenger Pigeons in the Nineteenth Century

S. G. Morley
2 (March-April)
From Field and Study
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A Note on Passenger Pigeons in the Nineteenth Century

The following passage is taken from a book of small circulation, the “Diary of Christopher Columbus Baldwin, Librarian of the American Antiquarian Society 1829-1835.” (Worcester, Massachusetts, published by the Society, 1901.) It is under date of January 4, 1830. “Rise early and go hunting all day. Have Asa Hosmer with me, who is a hunter by profession and does nothing else for several years. He tells me that last fall he caught 830 dozen pigeons Mr. Bryant and John Handcock caught half as many more. They sell for 25~ to $1. a dozen.” . . . “I can well remember in the spring of 1811 a flock passed over Templeton that was many hours in sight and so large as to cover the whole horizon. They first appeared a half hour before sunrise and continued till after ten oclock. ’ ”

C. C. Baldwin was the son of Eden Baldwin, for whom the village of Baldwinsville, Massachusetts, in the town of Templeton, was named. My father, Herbert S. Morley (born 1844), long a resident of Baldwinsville, wrote me under date of May 14, 1934, as follows: “When we first came here [about 18701 the blind of the hunters was in evidence near the railroad track. They used to bait the ground and then in some way throw a net over the birds, and then they killed them by .crushing in the heads with the ball of the thumb. And George Day told me that when the thumb got too lame Hosmer would crush them with his eye teeth.“

S. G. Morley

Berkeley, California, January 4, 1935

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